Conrad Perera

Conrad Perera

University of Auckland
New Zealand

Title: Electrospinning as a novel encapsulation method for food applications


He received his PhD from Oregon State University and has many years of work experience in the food industry research institutes and academia. His main research area is Chemistry and technology of processing of food products, with special emphasis in dehydration and functional foods. Currently he is working on Vitamin D stability in foods and bioactive peptides from food waste. Dr Neo Yun Ping received her PhD from the University of Auckland in 2014 supervised by Professor Perera. She is currently a lecturer in Food Science at Taylor College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



The main objective of this work was to better understand the procedure of electrospinning as a one-step encapsulation approach to acquire active component loaded nanostructured biopolymeric fibers. The impact of solution and processing parameters to the fabrication of zein electrospun fibers were investigated. Gallic acid was used as the model active component to determine the performance of loaded fibers using electrospinning as an encapsulation technique. The fabricated galic acid loaded zein (Ze-GA) fibers were appraised for various physicochemical characterizations including morphology, distribution of gallic acid in the electrospun fibers and thermal analyses. Results obtained indicated that interactions occurred between gallic acid and zein at the molecular level. Nevertheless, gallic acid preserved its phenolic character and antioxidant activity after electrospinning. Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of gallic acid in the fiber mat for food contact applications was determined by evaluating its release performance, mechanism of action, cytotoxicity and antimicrobial abilities. The fast release profile of gallic acid from the electrospun fibers is due to the large surface area and its localization on the fiber surface. The Ze-GA electrospun fibers are not cytotoxic and exhibited antimicrobial properties. Heat-curing improved the morphological stability of Ze-GA fibers to strengthen their structure and physical properties. All the electrospun fiber mats exhibited characteristic of α–helix rich protein. Overall, electrospinning has proven to be a versatile and promising approach that is capable of generating functionalized nanofibers suitable for food applications.