The Basics of Nanoemulsions

Pion Favicon
Deb Shechter
Sep 4, 2015
min read
The Basics of NanoemulsionsThe Basics of Nanoemulsions

Nanoemulsions are applied in a variety of areas. In this article, we provide a basic overview of nanoemulusions and their benefits.

What are Nanoemulsions?

Nanoemulsions – which are sometimes called sub-micron emulsions (SME) and mini-emulsions -- are non-toxic liquid oil-in-water or water-in-oil emulsions that have a mean droplet diameter between 50-1000 nm.

Nanoemulsions are made from a combination of surfactants (compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids). In the pharmaceutical & biotech industries, these nanoemulsions have been deemed safe for human consumption. And in food & beverage industries, nanoemulsions are common food substances that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared to be GRAS, or “Generally Recognized as Safe”.

For example, a typical nanoemulsion may contain 25% Evening Primrose Oil (as a lipid), 5% Tocopherol (as an antioxidant), 4% Lecithin (as an emulsifying agent), and 66% water (as a diluent).

How are Nanoemulsions Prepared?

The most common method of preparing nanoemulusions uses homogenization, during which the macroemulsion is passed via very high pressure (between 500 – 45,000 psi) through a tiny opening. As a result of this pressure, several forces – such as caviation, turbulence and shear – combine to fabricate nanoemulsions with their characteristically small droplet size.  

What are the Benefits of Nanoemulsions?

Nanoemulsions are highly beneficial and applicable in a number of commercial areas, including the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Their lipophilic interior (i.e. ability to dissolve in fats, oils, lipids, and non-polar solvents) makes them a much better option for transporting lipophilic compounds compared to liposomes, and as such they more efficiently enable the skin penetration of active ingredients. Furthermore, due to their transparent properties and extremely small droplet size, nanoemulsions do not cream, and thus enable to formulation of sprayable products.

There is also ongoing research that suggests nanoemulsions might be advantageous in cancer therapy when used for the target delivery of active ingredients. Promising research also suggests that nanoemulsions may become the established, stable alternative for liposome and vesicle-type delivery systems. And on a more profound and far-reaching scale, studies are currently underway to see to what extent nanoemulsions can be used to increase the bioavailability of drugs that are not efficiently water soluble, yet may be moreso in oil-in-water formulations.

Pion: Unprecedented Results for Nanoemulsions

At Pion, our focus on particle size reduction is perfectly suited to create unprecedented results for nanoemulsions by achieving desired particle size with droplet sizes around or below 100 nm. This is substantially smaller than the upper range of 1000 nm formulated by conventional homogenizers.

In addition, our technology and equipment creates stable emulsions with particles at equilibrium, helps extend product shelf life, increases efficacy, and supports controlled release.

Learn more about our groundbreaking solutions by contacting us today.  

Prev Blog
Next Blog