Solidification of oil liquids by encapsulation within porous hollow silica microspheres of narrow size distribution for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications

A. Belostozky, S. Bretler, M. Kolitz-Domb, I. Grinberg, S. Margel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study presents a new process for hydrophilic formulation of liquid oils, by encapsulation and solidification of the oils within porous hollow silica microspheres of narrow size distribution. Jojoba [Simmondsia chinensis] oil was chosen as a model study due to its broad potential applications. Jojoba oil is produced from the seeds of the jojoba plant, which are rich in liquid wax. Today, jojoba oil is mainly used for applications such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The oil is primarily used as a carrier oil that stabilizes sensitive active compounds, such as vitamins and other oils, which are susceptible to air oxidation or UV-light degradation. Silica (SiO 2 ) particles are used in many different industrial products such as food and cosmetics due to their chemical inertness. Here, uniform porous hollow SiO 2 microspheres, composed of sintered SiO 2 nanoparticles, were made by coating polystyrene template microspheres of narrow size distribution with three layers of SiO 2 nanoparticles, followed by removal of the polystyrene core by combustion at 500 °C. The synthesis stages were characterized by SEM, TEM, FTIR and TGA analyses. The measurements confirmed the increasing content of SiO 2 after each coating cycle and the absence of polystyrene in the final hollow particles. Jojoba oil was successfully encapsulated within the hollow SiO 2 microspheres by heating/cooling cycles, reaching an encapsulation yield of up to 10 times of the SiO 2 dry shell weight. The oil encapsulation was confirmed by a floatability test and confocal microscopy. The hollow SiO 2 and the oil-filled microspheres were found non-toxic to HaCaT cell line, a spontaneously transformed human epithelial cell line from adult skin. Furthermore, the oil-filled SiO 2 microspheres were dispersed in a hydrogel and exhibited a homogeneous water-based formulation that appeared stable after six months storage. In light of these findings, we offer these jojoba oil-filled particles as a model for hydrophilic formulation of oils in general and in particular as suitable candidates for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-767
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Jojoba oil
  • Oil encapsulation
  • Polystyrene
  • Porous hollow SiO microspheres
  • Sintered SiO


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