Ginseng polysaccharides , one of the main components of ginseng , provide unique biological activities such as immunostimulating effects. This work focuses on nanoprocessing of ginseng polysaccharides for enhancing the efficacy of active nutraceutical ingredients (API) , and encapsulation within a carrier for controlled API delivery. Nanoparticles of ginseng polysaccharide extracts were prepared using a microfluidic device and compared to other conventional wet chemical processes such as anti-solvent and reverse microemulsion techniques. The morphology and size of the nanoparticles were characterized by SEM , TEM , FTIR , and DLS. Depending on experimental conditions , microfluidics was found to provide unimodal polysaccharide spheres down to 20 nm with very narrow particle size distributions. Nanosized ginseng polysaccharide extracts were then encapsulated with gelatin , to give 180 nm spheres suitable for integration into capsules for subsequent oral drug delivery. For bioassay and animal model studies , a simple and efficient procedure was developed for the fluorescent labeling of ginseng polysaccharides. This procedure utilized a one-pot strategy with fluorescein-5-thiosemicarbazide (FTSC) to introduce a thiosemicarbazide group onto the aldehyde group at the reducing saccharide end to form a stable amino derivatives via reductive amination. The polysaccharide-FTSC derivative was characterized by photoluminescence and fluorescence microscopy. These techniques showed that the dye was highly fluorescent , maintaining the nanostructure. These labeled ginseng polysaccharides are presently being examined for bioassay studies to evaluate biological activities (immunomodulation) of the nanosized polysaccharides in murine macrophage cell lines and animal studies using rats. This work shows that nanoprocessing of ginseng polysaccharides can enhance controlled nutraceutical release for immunomodulation.
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