Microencapsulation studies with P(HB-HV) polymers
Microencapsulation processes, based upon the concept of solvent evaporation, have been employed within these studies to prepare microparticles from poly--hydroxybutyrate homopolymers and copolymers thereof with 3-hydroxyvalerate [P(HB-HV) polymers]. Variations in the preparative technique have facilitated the manufacture of two structurally distinct forms of microparticle. Thus, monolithic microspheres and reservoir-type microcapsules have been respectively fabricated by single and double emulsion-solvent evaporation processes. The objective of the studies reported in chapter three is to asses how a range of preparative variables affect the yield, shape and surface morphology of P(HB-HV) microcapsules. The following chapter then describes how microcapsule morphology in general, and microcapsule porosity in particular, can be regulated by blending the fabricating P(HB-HV) polymer with poly--caprolactone [PCL]. One revelation of these studies is the ability to generate uniformly microporous microcapsules from blends of various high molecular weight P(HB-HV) polymers with a low molecular weight form of PCL. These microcapsules are of particular interest because they may have the potential to facilitate the release of an encapsulated macromolecule via an aqueous diffusion mechanism which is not reliant on polymer degradation. In order to investigate this possibility, one such formulation is used in chapter five to encapsulate a wide range of different macromolecules, whose in vitro release behaviour is subsequently evaluated. The studies reported in chapter six centre on the preparation and characterization of hydrocortisone-loaded microspheres, prepared from a range of P(HB-HV) polymers, using a single emulsion-solvent evaporation process. In this chapter, the influence of the organic phase viscosity on the efficiency of drug encapsulation is the focus of initial investigations. Thereafter, it is shown how the strategies previously adopted for the regulation of microcapsule morphology can also be applied to single emulsion systems, with profound implications for the rate of drug release.