Suberin fatty acids isolated from outer birch bark improve moisture barrier properties of cellulose ether films intended for tablet coatings

Jyrki Heinämäki, Anna Halenius, Maaja Paavo, Sami Alakurtti, Pauliina Pitkänen, Minni Pirttimaa, Urve Paaver, Kalle Kirsimäe, Karin Kogermann, Jouko Yliruusi

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    Abstract We showed that the addition of suberin fatty acids (SFAs) even at small concentrations significantly improves the water vapor barrier properties of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) films. SFAs were isolated from the outer birch bark using extractive hydrolysis. The effects of SFAs on the film formation of aqueous HPMC were investigated with free films plasticized with polyethylene glycol (PEG 400). Special attention was paid on the physical solid-state, moisture barrier and mechanical stress-strain properties of films intended for tablet film coatings. Topography and surface morphology, glass transition temperature (Tg), tensile strength, Young's modulus, and water vapor permeation (WVP) of films were studied. The addition of SFAs lowered the Tg of films suggesting partial enhancement in film plasticization. The WVP of films decreased with increasing SFAs concentration up to 15% (calculated as a % w/w from a polymer weight). The WVP value for a non-suberized reference film and suberized film plasticized with PEG 400 was 2.13 * 10-6 and 0.69[ * 10-6 g/(mm2 * h) * mm/Pa], respectively. The addition of SFAs impaired the mechanical stress-strain properties of HPMC films by reducing the deformation capacity of film. In conclusion, the film properties and performance of aqueous HPMC can be modified by including SFAs in the films.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-99
    JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



    • birch bark
    • free films
    • hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
    • mechanical properties
    • suberin fatty acids
    • water vapor permeation

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