In this work, a novel strategy for the controlled fabrication of biomolecular stimulus responsive water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) multiple emulsion using the membrane emulsification process was investigated. The emulsions interface was functionalized with a biomolecule able to function as a receptor for a target compound. The interaction between the biomolecular receptor and target stimulus activated the release of bioactive molecules contained within the structured emulsion. A glucose sensitive emulsion was investigated as a model study case. Concanavalin A (Con A) was used as the biomolecular glucose sensor. Various physicochemical strategies for stimulus responsive materials formulation are available in literature, but the preparation of biomolecule-responsive emulsions has been explored for the first time in this paper. The development of novel drug delivery systems requires advanced and highly precise techniques to obtain their particular properties and targeting requirements. The present study has proven the flexibility and suitability of membrane emulsification for the preparation of stable and functional multiple emulsions containing Con A as interfacial biomolecular receptor able to activate the release of a bioactive molecule as a consequence of interaction with the glucose target molecule. The influence of emulsion interfacial composition and membrane emulsification operating conditions on droplets stability and functional properties have been investigated. The release of the bioactive molecule as a function of glucose stimulus and its concentration has been demonstrated. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2011; 108:913–923. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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