Electro-Encapsulation of Lycopene in Protein Microfiber Structure: Physicochemical and Bioaccessibility Characteristics

Document Type : Research Article


1 M.Sc. student, Department of Food Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Food Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Food Nanotechnology, Research Institute of Food Science and Technology (RIFST), Mashhad, Iran


Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment withsome special health attributes, which have attracted many researchers’ attention as a valuable ingredient. The stability of many bioactive compounds is limited due to various physicochemical and physiological processes. For this purpose, the application of different encapsulation methods for controlled release and improved stability of bioactive compounds is of great importance. In this study, the effect of various solution concentrations (15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 %w/v) on the production of zein fibers was studied. The optimized concentration was then, applied for the encapsulation process of lycopene at two levels (0.05, 0.075 %w/w). The physical and chemical properties of lycopene-containing zein fibers and the profile of lycopene release in three phases of gastrointestinal (GI) tract (mouth, stomach and small intestine) were investigated. The results of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that uniform, homogeneous and beads-free fibers were obtained at the optimum conditions. The lycopene loading efficiency was measured between 85.68-88.07%. The results of FTIR test indicate that the physical entrapment of lycopene in zein microfibers was successfully occurred. In addition, controlled and stable release of lycopene in the GI simulated system which shows its appropriate bioaccessibility was observed. Encapsulation using zein electrospun microfiber has the potential to serve as a targeted delivery system for lycopene. The use of this method is therefore, recommended for the encapsulation of lycopene in the food industry.

Graphical Abstract

Electro-Encapsulation of Lycopene in Protein Microfiber Structure: Physicochemical and Bioaccessibility Characteristics


  • The optimal electrospinning conditions for the encapsulation of lycopene in zein microfibers were determined.
  • The effect of gastrointestinal (GI) tract on the electro-encapsulated lycopene was studied.
  • The electro-encapsulation of lycopene in the zein microfibers enhances its bioaccessibility. 
  • Lycopene was physically entrapped in the protein microfiber structure.


Main Subjects

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