Particulate Drug Delivery: Recent Applications of Natural Biopolymers
Pp. 63-94 (32)
Anthony A. Attama and Philip F. Builders
Polymers fall into three broad categories: natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic.
Polymers are widely used in pharmaceutical systems as drug carriers, adjuvants, suspending and
emulsifying agents. The word "polymer" which means "many parts", is derived from the Greek
words poly, meaning "many," and meros, meaning "parts". Polymers are widely found in nature
and occur in many forms. The human body contains many natural polymers such as proteins and
nucleic acids, while cellulose is the main structural component of plants. Cellulose, starch, lignin,
chitin, and various polysaccharides are of natural origin. These materials and their derivatives
offer a wide range of properties and applications in drug delivery. Natural polymers are usually
biocompatible and biodegradable. In this chapter, sources and applications of natural biopolymers
in particulate drug delivery systems such as microparticles and nanoparticles, which are currently
widely investigated as drug delivery systems, were discussed.
Key words: natural biopolymers, particulate drug delivery, microparticles, nanoparticles.
Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria