Continuous API-crystal coating via coacervation in a tubular reactor

Maximilian Besenhard, Roland Hohl, Alexandra Thurnberger, Eva Faulhammer, Johannes Khinast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a proof-of-concept study of a continuous coating process of single API crystals in a tubular reactor using coacervation as a microencapsulation technique. Continuous API crystal coating can have several advantages, as in a single step (following crystallization) individual crystals can be prepared with a functional coating, either to change the release behavior, to protect the API from gastric juice or to modify the surface energetics of the API (i.e., to tailor the hydrophobic/hydrophilic characteristics, flowability or agglomeration tendency, etc.). The coating process was developed for the microencapsulation of a lipophilic core material (ibuprofen crystals of 20 μm- to 100 μm-size), with either hypromellose phthalate (HPMCP) or Eudragit L100-55. The core material was suspended in an aqueous solution containing one of these enteric polymers, fed into the tubing and mixed continuously with a sodium sulfate solution as an antisolvent to induce coacervation. A subsequent temperature treatment was applied to optimize the microencapsulation of crystals via the polymer-rich coacervate phase. Cross-linking of the coating shell was achieved by mixing the processed material with an acidic solution (pH < 3). Flow rates, temperature profiles and polymer-to-antisolvent ratios had to be tightly controlled to avoid excessive aggregation, leading to pipe plugging. This work demonstrates the potential of a tubular reactor design for continuous coating applications and is the basis for future work, combining continuous crystallization and coating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-207
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Application
  • Experimental

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