The fabrication of biodegradable nanospheres from novel hydroxalkanoates for the delivery of actives of pharmaceutical and agricultural interest

  • Graham R. Carlin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This work describes the fabrication of nanospheres from a range of novel
polyhydroxyalkanoates supplied by Monsanto, St Louis, Missouri, USA for the delivery of selected actives of both pharmaceutical and agricultural interest. Initial evaluation of established microsphere and nanosphere fabrication techniques resulted in the adoption and optimisation of a double sonication solvent evaporation method involving the synperonic surfactant F68. Nanospheres could be consistently generated with this method.
Studies on the incorporation and release of the surrogate protein Bovine Serum Albumin V demonstrated that BSA could be loaded with between 10-40% w/w BSA without nanosphere destabilisation. BSA release from nanospheres into Hanks Balanced Salts Solution, pH 7.4, could be monitored for up to 28 days at 37°C.
The incorporation and release of the Monsanto actives - the insecticide Admire® ({ 1-[(6-chloro-3-pyridinyl)methyIJ-N-nitro-2-imidazolidinimine}) and the plant growth hormone potassium salt Gibberellic acid (GA3K) from physico-chemically characterised polymer nanospheres was monitored for up to 37 days and 28 days respectively, at both 4°C and 23°C. Release data was subsequently fitted to established kinetic models to elaborate the possible mechanisms of release of actives from the nanospheres.
The exposure of unloaded nanospheres to a range of physiological media and rural rainwater has been used to investigate the role polymer biodegradation by enzymatic and chemical means might play in the in vivo release of actives and agricultural applications.
The potential environmental biodegradation of Monsanto polymers has been investigated using a composting study (International Standard ISO/FDIS 14855) in which the ultimate aerobic biodegradation of the polymers has been monitored by the analysis of evolved carbon dioxide. These studies demonstrated the potential of the polymers for use in the environment, for example as a pesticide delivery system.

Date of AwardApr 2001
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorTerence W. Atkins (Supervisor)


  • polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • nanospheres
  • polymer biodegradation
  • composting
  • in vitro release

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