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News U12

News U12

Gels formed from the interaction of lipid vesicles: Influence of charge in their structural and rheological properties

Susana Vilchez, researcher at NANBIOSIS U12. Nanostructured liquid characterization unit  of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, is coauthor of an article recently published in the Journal of Molecular Liquids.

“This work – explains Susana Vilchez – shows how structural and viscoelastic properties of a lipid colloidal gel can be altered by varying the ratio of charged lipids in the dispersion. These findings corroborate that the eventual formation of the gel and the morphology of its network is governed by the repulsive potential of the particles instead of the molecular composition of their membranes. Thus, the right control of charge balance in the system may allow finding specific applications for such material, especially in the biomedical field due to its lipid composition”.

Rheological measurements have been performed by the Nanostructured Liquids Unit (U12) of the ICTS NANBIOSIS.

Article of reference:

Kirian Talló, Susana Vílchez, Ramon Pons, Olga López. Gels formed from the interaction of lipid vesicles: Influence of charge in their structural and rheological properties. Journal of Molecular Liquids Volume 322, 15 January 2021, 114957 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molliq.2020.114957

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Encapsulation of BSA/alginate water–in–water emulsions by polyelectrolyte complexation

Researchers of NANBIOSIS U12. Nanostructured liquid characterization unit from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC have recently published an article entitled Encapsulation of BSA/alginate water–in–water emulsions by polyelectrolyte complexation in the scientific journal Food Hydrocolloids

The research which results are published involves the encapsulation of drops of water-in-water emulsions, which could be used as vehicles for the administration of active principles.

Characterization of emulsions and capsules was performed in the Unit 12 of NANBIOSIS Nanostructured Liquid Characterization Unit.

Water-in-Water (W/W) emulsions were prepared in aqueous mixtures of an anionic polyelectrolyte (sodium alginate, NaAlg), with a globular protein (bovine serum albumin, BSA). This combination showed phase separation at two different intervals of pH, and their phase behavior was studied. BSA-in-alginate emulsions were obtained and dropped into Ca2+, Fe3+ or chitosan solutions, forming capsules with diameters around 2–4 mm, by ionic complexation of sodium alginate, located in the continuous phase of the emulsions. The results showed a strong dependence on the cation or polycation. Capsules prepared with Ca2+ were not robust and collapsed during freeze-drying, while Fe3+ induced the gelation of the interior of capsules, even at short (5 min) contact time. Better results were obtained when encapsulating with chitosan and applying longer immersion times. In these capsules, the liquid interior contained well-preserved BSA-in-alginate emulsions droplets, identical to the initial emulsions before encapsulating. Freeze-dried spherical capsules prepared with alginate/Fe3+ or alginate/ chitosan shells had smooth surfaces, and a highly porous interior, templated by the presence of W/W emulsion droplets.


M. Michaux, N. Salinas, J. Miras, S. Vílchez, C. González-Azón, J. Esquena,
Encapsulation of BSA/alginate water–in–water emulsions by polyelectrolyte complexation, Food Hydrocolloids, Volume 113, 2021, 106406,

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New Scanning Electron Microscope and on line Seminar to explain it for internal and external accesses on NANBIOSIS U12

A new Scanning Electron Microscope (Hitachi TM-4000 Plus II) has been installed at the Nanostructured liquid characterization unit of NANBIOSIS ICTS (Unit 12) of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC.

An online seminar will be given by Susana Vilchez on January 14th at 12h to explain the various features, functions and capabilities of this new instrument, Tabletop Scanning Electron Microscope Hitachi TM-4000 Plus II, that is open for both internal and external users.

Those interested in attending the seminar can contact unit 12 of NANBIOSIS:

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NANBIOSIS U12 expands its capabilities with a new SEM for morphological and dimensional characterization of solid samples

The U12 of NANBIOSIS (Nanostructured liquid characterization unit) has expanded its capabilities with a new equipment U12-E22. SEM Hitachi TM4000Plus II for morphological and dimensional characterization of solid samples

Low vacuum Scanning Electron Microscopy with two electron detectors (secondary, SE, and backscattered, BSE). SE imaging provides a detailed information of the morphology of the sample and BSE gives information about the different components of the sample, based on the different atomic number (the higher the atomic number, the brighter the surface).

The equipment can apply different vacuum levels (using a turbo molecular pump) with accelerating voltages between 5 and 20 kV and magnifications from 10x to 100,000x. Specimens with size up to 80 mm diameter and/or 50 mm thickness can be characterized and samples.

Conductive and non-conductive samples can be characterized with little or no previous preparation. The software enables image processing of micrographs, for instance, measuring the size of solid particles after the acquisition of images.

SEM analysis is very useful in several fields:

  • Life sciences, for the topographical and morphological characterization of tissues, hairs, fibers, etc.
  • Materials science, for quality control and failure analysis. Morphological properties are quite important in the research of innovative materials. In addition, the characterization of the surface is a key factor in porous materials used for delivery systems.
  • Semiconductor inspection and microchip assembly, to analyse the topography and to investigate the effectiveness of production methods.

The equipment has been financed by CSIC and with funds of the research group coordinanting the unit from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, led by Carlos Rodriguez-Abreu

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NANBIOSIS U12 researchers modify contact lenses to reduce the risk of bacterial infection

Researchers from NANBIOSIS U12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit, from CIBER-BBN at the IQAC-CSIC have chemically modified contact lenses, incorporating antibacterial properties. Contact lenses, especially soft ones, pose a risk of ocular microbial infection that can eventually lead to loss of vision.

“These new contact lenses inhibit the formation of bacterial biofilms and could prevent ocular keratitis” explains Jordi Esquena, a researcher at the CIBER-BBN at the IQAC-CSIC and one of the coordinators of the work.

In the study, published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, bactericidal activity was introduced into hydrogel contact lenses, through antimicrobial peptides that were anchored on the lens surface. The publication describes the obtaining, efficacy and biocompatibility of these contact lenses.

“We have been able to show that peptide functionalized contact lenses can dramatically reduce bacterial adhesion and viability when exposed to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus,” explains Dr. Esquena.

The authors conclude that these systems offer the potential to minimize corneal bacterial infection and represent a suitable platform for future ophthalmic devices.

The characterization of functionalized contact lenses and the studies by fluorescence optical microscopy were carried out mainly in the Nanostructured Liquids Characterization Unit (U12) of the ICTS NANBIOSIS.

Article of reference:

Emiliano Salvagni, Clara García, Àngels Manresa, Claudia Müller-Sánchez, Manuel Reina, Carlos Rodríguez-Abreu, Maria José García-Celma, Jordi Esquena. Short and ultrashort antimicrobial peptides anchored onto soft commercial contact lenses inhibit bacterial adhesión.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2020.111283

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A Concise Review on Nano-emulsion Formation by the Phase Inversion Composition (PIC) Method

Researchers of NANBIOSIS U12. Nanostructured liquid characterization unit from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC have recently published an interesting review entitled “A Concise Review on Nano-emulsion Formation by the Phase Inversion Composition (PIC) Method” in the JOURNAL OF SURFACTANTS AND DETERGENTS. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsde.12414

Studies of phase behavior and particle sizing were performed at the Nanostructured Liquid Characterization Unit, member of the NANBIOSIS ICTS.

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Ethylcellulose nanoparticles as new “in vitro” tool for cell transfection

Researchers of NANBIOSIS U12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit and U29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP) of CIBER-BBN at IQAC-CSIC have obtained successfully ethylcellulose nanoparticles with positive zeta potential formed from nano-emulsion complexation with an antisense oligonucleotide which result very promising complexes for “in vitro” cell transfection.

A new non-viral gene delivery vector has been developed, based on ethylcellulose, an easily available and low cost carbohydrate polymer, “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA. Although ethylcellulose is nonionic, positively charged nanoparticle dispersions have been obtained using nano-emulsion templates in cationic:non-ionic surfactant-based systems. The nanoparticles have been successfully complexed with negatively charged phosphorothioate antisense oligonucleotides. These short nucleic acid chains are advantageous as they show improved cell penetration ability and higher resistance to degradation by nucleases. The nanoparticle:oligonucleotide complexes obtained show suitable transfection efficiency and are promising for “in vitro” gene transfection purposes.

This research has been developed through the close collaboration between the Colloidal and Interfacial Chemistry group led by Dr. Carlos Rodríguez Abreu, and the Nucleic Acids Chemistry group led by Dr. Ramon Eritja as well as the NANBIOSIS U12 and U29 Units. Both groups belong to the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) and the CIBER-BBN.

Article of reference: Leitner, S.; Grijalvo, S.; Solans, C.; Eritja, R.; Garcia-Celma, M. J.; Caldero, G., Ethylcellulose nanoparticles as a new “in vitro” transfection tool for antisense oligonucleotide delivery CARBOHYDRATE POLYMERS 229,1, 115451, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2019.115451

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Carlos Rodriguez-Abreu (NANBIOSIS U12) keynote speaker in OKINAWA COLLOIDS 2019

Carlos Rodriguez-Abreu, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit has been invited speaker at OKINAWA COLLOIDS 2019 conference in Okinawa, Japan on November 3 to 8, 2019 in the session Foams / Bubbles / Emulsions and Microemulsions.
Foams and emulsions stabilized by surfactants, amphiphilic polymers and solid particles are essential formulations for developing pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, foods and so on. Recently, many functional systems have been proposed including stimuli responsive materials, biocompatible materials, and environmental affinity materials. The topics of this session include a wide range of subjects: physical properties, phase behaviors and new functions of these systems.

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Formulation of emulsions: Science behind cosmetics at COSMETORIUM

Carlos Rodríguez-Abreu, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit, from Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, Higher Council for Scientific Research (IQAC-CSIC) and CIBER of Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) has participated in the fourth edition of COSMETORIUM, given a talk on “Recent advances in the formulation of emulsions”

The fair of Cosmetorium, which was held at the Palau de Congresos de Barcelona on October 23 and 24, is organized by the Spanish Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SEQC), begun with keynote conferences and a scientific program, which examined the key problems facing the cosmetic and personal care industry, on issues such as global regulatory problems and science technology.

COSMETORIUM is a forum on creation, formulation, manufacture and distribution of cosmetic products, ranging from the development of the idea of a product until its arrival to consumers that highlighs the importance of Spain as a center of excellence in the cosmetic industry. In fact, Cosmetorium has joined the Formulating Cosmetics & Making Cosmetics series of events that have achieved great success in Italy and the United Kingdom, with over a thousand attendees.

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Next October 15-18, the researchers of NANBIOSIS U12, Nanostructured liquid characterization unit, are giving a course on Nano Technologies and Microencapsulation organized by CSIC General Foundation and CUIMPB – Center Ernest Lluch of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) in Barcelona.

The nano- and microencapsulation consists in the protection of active substances inside nano- and microcarriers, particularly labile molecules, improving their stability, with the aim of transporting them and achieving their controlled release. This topic is the subject of great interest in numerous fields and industrial applications. It is known that the performance efficiency of an active substance greatly increases with its encapsulation, depending on the size of the capsules, their transfer surface and the permeability properties of said capsules. In addition, the capsules can be directed specifically inside an organism, using suitable vectors.
The object of the course is to provide attendees with the basics of micro- and nanoencapsulation techniques, including fundamentals and preparation methods, as well as innovative applications in the chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical fields, among others.

The registration form and detailed information can be found on the CUIMPB website

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