Physical stability of a microcrystalline beta-sitosterol suspension in oil

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Anna von Bonsdorff-Nikander, Milja Karjalainen, Jukka Rantanen, Leena Christiansen, Jouko Yliruusi

Sterols have been shown to reduce plasma cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. The physical properties of crystalline plant sterols limit their use in foods. A coarse-grained structure can be avoided by recrystallisation, a method that affords a reduction in the particle size. A previous work described how to produce a microcrystalline beta-sitosterol suspension. The present study deals with the stability of that suspension. Recrystallisation was carried out by two different methods; one based on rapid the other based on slow cooling, whereby six different compositions were made containing 5-30% of beta-sitosterol and secondly either 5 or 20% water was added. The particle size and habit were evaluated during a 16 weeks storage period (+4 or -19 degrees C) by way of optical microscopy. The crystal structure and degree of crystallinity was analysed by X-ray diffraction. Suspensions can, in most cases, be stored for 16 weeks without any changes to the size and habit. The only evidence of crystal growth came from a suspension with a low sterol concentration at a temperature of +4 degrees C. This is due to the dissolution-diffusion process which is affected by temperature and viscosity. Suspensions containing higher amounts of sterol remained stable, if stored at +4 or -19 degrees C, for 16 weeks. The suspensions included both hemihydrous and monohydrous beta-sitosterol crystals. Suspensions containing less sterol showed greater amounts of monohydrated crystals. This illustrates more water penetration into the crystals. A higher sterol concentration led to a larger number of smaller crystals creating reflections similar to hemihydrated crystals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Volume19
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)173-9
Number of pages7
ISSN0928-0987
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

ID: 140622969