The scientific and commercial interests for plant derived products have increased constantly, in particular in the pharmaceutical and food industries; and the popular use have guided the studies with these products. Petiveria alliacea is a vegetable species with proved antimicrobial, antiinflammatory and antitumor activities, and has been used in the folk medicine of several countries. The leaves and roots of P. alliacea contain several biologically active compounds, including flavonoids, triterpenes, steroids and sulfur-containing compounds. P. alliacea contains a sulphur compound, the dibenzyl trisulphite (DTS), which is linked to various biological activities, highlighting the antitumor action. Therefore, the P. alliacea is an optimum model species for the development of micro and nanostructures system, in order to facilitate the delivery of bioactive compounds, increase its physicochemical stability and biological efficacy. Several strategies can be used to obtain micro- and nanostructured systems containing natural products, including the micro/nanoencapsulation in lipid based systems, such as the solid lipid nanoparticles that can be produced by high pressure homogenization, or from microemulsions. Proteins and polysaccharides, acrylic/methacrylic and poly lactic/polyglycolic acid derivatives, lipids, sugars, organic acids, and hydrogenated vegetable oils are frequently used as encapsulating material. The correct choice of the wall materials and encapsulation processes depend on the desired product properties, such as solubility, bioavailability, desired delivery, particle size and so on. The lipid based nanostructured systems have potential for topical delivery of bioactive comnpounds. Such systems can be obtained from solid lipids, liquid lipids or from mixture of the both in different rations, through a plethora of preparation methods. They can be classified also as matricial or reservoir systems of several sizes, although in the nanosized scale (< 1 ¼m). Their main characteristics include excellent physical stability, protection of unstable substances against degradation, controlled release, excellent patient acceptance, vectorization capability, and do not present problems regarding sterilization and large scale production. Therefore, the aim of this scientific initiation project is the development and characterization of solid lipid nanoparticles as a method to vectorize crude extract and isolated compounds of P. alliacea, aiming the increase of bioavailability and the exploitation of the therapeutical potential of this plant species and isolated compounds in the treatment of antimicrobial infections.
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