Structure and Mobility of Lactose in Lactose/Sodium Montmorillonite Nanocomposites

J Hellrup and M Holmboe and KP Nartowski and YZ Khimyak and D Mahlin, LANGMUIR, 32, 13214-13225 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b01967

This study aims at investigating the molecular level organization and molecular mobility in montmorillonite nanocomposites with the uncharged organic low-molecular weight compound lactose commonly used in pharmaceutical drug delivery, food technology, and flavoring. Nanocomposites were prepared under slow and fast drying conditions, attained by drying at ambient conditions and by spray-drying, respectively. A detailed structural investigation was performed with modulated differential scanning calorimetry, powder X-ray diffraction, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, microcalorimetry, and molecular dynamics simulations. The lactose was intercalated in the sodium montmorillonite interlayer space regardless of the clay content, drying rate, or humidity exposure. Although, the spray-drying resulted in higher proportion of intercalated lactose compared with the drying under ambient conditions, nonintercalated lactose was present at 20 wt % lactose content and above. This indicates limitations in maximum loading capacity of nonionic organic substances into the montmorillonite interlayer space. Furthermore, a fraction of the intercalated lactose in the co-spray- dried nanocomposites diffused out from the clay interlayer space upon humidity exposure. Also, the lactose in the nanocomposites demonstrated higher molecular mobility than that of neat amorphous lactose. This study provides a foundation for understanding functional properties of lactose/Na-MMT nanocomposites, such as loading capacity and physical stability.

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