Stability of β-carotene in polyethylene oxide electrospun nanofibers
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β-carotene (βc) was successfully incorporated into electrospun nanofibers of poly-(ethylene oxide) (PEO) with the aim of prolonging its shelf life and thermal stability. The physical and thermal properties of the βc-PEO-nanofibers were determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), colour analysis, and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The nanofibers of PEO and βc-PEO exhibited average fibre diameters of 320 ± 46 and 230 ± 21 nm, with colorimetric coordinates L* = 95.7 ± 2.4 and 89.4 ± 4.6 and b* = −0.5 ± 0.1 and 6.2 ± 3.0 respectively. Thermogravimetric analysis coupled Proton Transfer Mass Spectroscopy (TGA/PTR-ms) demonstrated that coated βc inside PEO nanofibers increased thermal stability when compared to standard βc in powder form. In addition, β-carotene in the membranes showed higher stability during storage when compared with β-carotene in solution with a decrease in concentration of 57 ± 4% and 70 ± 2% respectively, thus should extend the shelf life of this compound. TGA coupled with PTR-MS resulted in a promising technique to online-monitoring thermal degradation.