Structure and mobility of lactose in lactose/sodium montmorillonite nanocomposites

Joel Hellrup (Lead Author), Michael Holmboe, Karol P. Nartowski, Yaroslav Z. Khimyak, Denny Mahlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


This study aims at investigating the molecular level organization and molecular mobility in montmorillonite nanocomposites with the uncharged organic low-molecular-weight compound lactose commonly used in pharmaceutical drug delivery, food technology, and flavoring. Nanocomposites were prepared under slow and fast drying conditions, attained by drying at ambient conditions and by spray-drying, respectively. A detailed structural investigation was performed with modulated differential scanning calorimetry, powder X-ray diffraction, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning electron microscopy, microcalorimetry, and molecular dynamic simulations. The lactose was intercalated in the sodium montmorillonite interlayer space regardless of the clay content, drying rate, or humidity exposure. Although, the spray-drying resulted in higher proportion of intercalated lactose compared with the drying under ambient conditions, non-intercalated lactose was present at 20 wt% lactose content. This indicates limitations in maximum load capacity of nonionic organic substances into the montmorillonite interlayer space. Furthermore, a fraction of the intercalated lactose in the co-spray-dried nanocomposites diffused out from the clay interlayer space upon humidity exposure. Also, the lactose in the nanocomposites demonstrated higher molecular mobility than that of neat amorphous lactose. This study provides a foundation for understanding functional properties of nanocomposites, such as loading capacity and physical stability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13214–13225
Number of pages12
Issue number49
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2016

Cite this