Physical and Biochemical Characterization of Chemically Treated Pollen Shells for Potential Use in Oral Delivery of Therapeutics

Md Jasim Uddin, Sumedha Liyanage, Noureddine Abidi, Harvinder Singh Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Allergen-free pollen shells obtained from natural pollen grains have recently attracted attention as microcapsules for oral therapeutic delivery. We have recently developed a chemical treatment method that enables successful retrieval of hollow pollen shells from diverse species. A comprehensive characterization is critical to characterize the effects of chemical treatment which will not only benchmark the pollen treatment process but can also lay the foundation of quality control procedures to check allergen-removal efficiency during pollen treatment. Therefore, in this study, we followed the effects of chemical treatment on 4 different pollen species using electron microscopy, elemental analysis, gel electrophoresis, confocal microscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis. These analyses revealed that acetone treatment removed lipids from the pollen surface. Phosphoric acid treatment removed proteins and nucleic acids from the pollen core and transformed esters into carboxylic acids. Potassium hydroxide hydrolysis changed carbohydrate composition of the pollen wall. Chemically treated pollen shells exhibited hydroxyl and carboxyl functional groups on their surface. Overall, we propose that confocal microscopy could be used as a rapid scanning technique to visualize the removal of biomolecules, whereas Fourier-transform infrared combined with gel electrophoresis could be used as a more objective approach for analysis and benchmarking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3047-3059
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • FTIR spectroscopy
  • microcapsules
  • microencapsulation
  • mucosal vaccination
  • oral drug delivery
  • physical characterization
  • thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)
  • vaccine adjuvants


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical and Biochemical Characterization of Chemically Treated Pollen Shells for Potential Use in Oral Delivery of Therapeutics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this