Garlic oil is considered as a natural broad-spectrum antibiotic because of its well-known antimicrobial activity. However, the characteristics of easy volatility and poor aqueous solubility limit the application of garlic oil in industry. The purpose of the present work is to develop and evaluate an oil-free microemulsion by loading garlic oil in microemulsion system. Microemulsions were prepared with ethoxylated hydrogenated castor (Cremophor RH40) as surfactant, n-butanol (or ethanol) as cosurfactant, oleic acid-containing garlic oil as oil phase, and ultrapure water as water phase. The effects of the ratio of surfactant to cosurfactant and different oil concentration on the area of oil-in-water (O/W) microemulsion region in pseudoternary phase diagrams were investigated. The particle size and garlic oil encapsulation efficiency of the formed microemulsions with different formulations were also investigated. In addition, the antimicrobial activity in vitro against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus was assessed. The experimental results show that a stable microemulsion region can be obtained when the mass ratio of surfactant to cosurfactant is, respectively, 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1. Especially, when the mixture surfactants of RH40/n-butanol 2/1 (w/w) is used in the microemulsion formulation, the area of O/W microemulsion region is 0.089 with the particle size 13.29 to 13.85 nm and garlic oil encapsulation efficiency 99.5%. The prepared microemulsion solution exhibits remarkable antibacterial activity against S. aureus.
Monodispersed garlic oil microspheres in water were prepared by microemulsion technique. The volatile characteristics and poor aqueous solubility of garlic oil could be overcome. It indicates that the water-dilutable microemulsion that is formed by garlic oil encapsulated in a nanoparticle vector is effective in preventing Staphylococcus aureus.