Continuous-Flow Production of Liposomes with a Millireactor under Varying Fluidic Conditions
Yanar F., Mosayyebi A., Nastruzzi C., Carugo D., Zhang X.
Continuous-flow production of liposomes using microfluidic reactors has demonstrated advantages compared to batch methods, including greater control over liposome size and size distribution and reduced reliance on post-production processing steps. However, the use of microfluidic technology for the production of nanoscale vesicular systems (such as liposomes) has not been fully translated to industrial scale yet. This may be due to limitations of microfluidic-based reactors, such as low production rates, limited lifetimes, and high manufacturing costs. In this study, we investigated the potential of millimeter-scale flow reactors (or millireactors) with a serpentine-like architecture, as a scalable and cost-effective route to the production of nanoscale liposomes. The effects on liposome size of varying inlet flow rates, lipid type and concentration, storage conditions, and temperature were investigated. Liposome size (i.e., mean diameter) and size dispersity were characterised by dynamic light scattering (DLS); z-potential measurements and TEM imaging were also carried out on selected liposome batches. It was found that the lipid type and concentration, together with the inlet flow settings, had significant effects on the properties of the resultant liposome dispersion. Notably, the millifluidic reactor was able to generate liposomes with size and dispersity ranging from 54 to 272 nm, and from 0.04 to 0.52 respectively, at operating flow rates between 1 and 10 mL/min. Moreover, when compared to a batch ethanol-injection method, the millireactor generated liposomes with a more therapeutically relevant size and size dispersity.