VINNER, G.K. and MALIK, D.J., 2018. High precision microfluidic microencapsulation of bacteriophages for enteric delivery. Research in Microbiology, In Press.
A Salmonella specific bacteriophage Felix O1 (Myoviridae) was microencapsulated in a pH responsive polymer formulation. The formulation incorporated a pH responsive methacrylic acid copolymer Eudragit® S100 (10% (w/v)) with the addition of the biopolymer sodium alginate, the composition of which was varied in the range (0.5% (w/v)e2% (w/v)). The microencapsulation process employed commercially available microfluidic droplet generation devices. We have used readily available low cost microfluidic chips instead of bespoke in-house fabricated glass capillary devices which are accessible
only in specialist research facilities. We show that these co-flow microfluidic devices can easily be used to prepare phage encapsulated microparticles making them suitable for use by both the phage research community and industry in order to evaluate and optimise phage compatible formulations for microencapsulation.
A novelty of the work reported here is that the size of the generated monodispersed droplets could be precisely controlled in the range 50 mme200 mm by varying the flow rates of the
dispersed and continuous phases. Consequently, alginate concentration and microparticle size were shown to influence the phage release profile and the degree of acid protection afforded to phages upon exposure to simulated gastric fluid (SGF). Bigger microparticles (~100 mm) showed better acid protection compared with smaller beads (~50 mm) made from the same formulation. Increasing the alginate composition resulted in improved acid protection of phages for similar particle sizes. The high viscosity
formulations containing higher amounts of alginate (e.g. 2% (w/v)) negatively affected ease of droplet generation in the microfluidic device thereby posing a limitation in terms of process scale-up. Felix O1 encapsulated in the formulation containing 10% (w/v) ES100 and 1% (w/v) alginate showed excellent protection upon exposure of the gelled microparticles to SGF (pH 1 for 2 h) without the use of any antacids in the encapsulation matrix. Encapsulated phages previously exposed to SGF (pH 1 for 2 h) were
released at elevated pH in simulated intestinal fluid (SIF) and were shown to arrest bacterial growth in the log growth phase. We have therefore demonstrated the microencapsulation of phages using readily available microfluidic chips to produce solid dosage microcapsule forms with a rapid pH triggered release profile suitable for targeted delivery and controlled release in the gastrointestinal tract.
This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
This research was funded by the EPSRC (Grant no. EP/M027341/1) Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance:
An Interdisciplinary Approach.