Suberin fatty acids from outer birch bark: Isolation and physical material characterization

Jyrki Heinämäki, Minni M. Pirttimaa, Sami Alakurtti, Pauliina H. Pitkänen, Heimo Kanerva, Janne Hulkko, Urve Paaver, Jaan Aruväli, Jouko Yliruusi, Karin Kogermann

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The isolation and physical material properties of suberin fatty acids (SFAs) were investigated with special reference to their potential applications as novel pharmaceutical excipients. SFAs were isolated from outer birch bark (OBB) with a new extractive hydrolysis method. The present simplified isolation process resulted in a moderate batch yield and chemical purity of SFAs, but further development is needed for establishing batch-to-batch variation. Cryogenic milling was the method of choice for the particle size reduction of SFAs powder. The cryogenically milled SFAs powder exhibited a semicrystalline structure with apparent microcrystalline domains within an amorphous fatty acids matrix. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) of SFAs samples showed a good thermal stability up to 200 °C, followed by a progressive weight loss, reaching a plateau at about 95% volatilization at about 470 °C. The binary blends of SFAs and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC; Avicel PH 101) in a ratio of 25:75 (w/w) displayed good powder flow and tablet compression properties. The corresponding theophylline-containing tablets showed sustained or prolonged-release characteristics. The physicochemical and bulk powder properties of SFAs isolated from OBB are auspicious in terms of potential pharmaceutical excipient applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-924
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Cite this

Heinämäki, J., Pirttimaa, M. M., Alakurtti, S., Pitkänen, P. H., Kanerva, H., Hulkko, J., Paaver, U., Aruväli, J., Yliruusi, J., & Kogermann, K. (2017). Suberin fatty acids from outer birch bark: Isolation and physical material characterization. Journal of Natural Products, 80(4), 916-924.