Okra (Hibiscus esculentus) gum based hydrophilic matrices for controlled drug delivery applications: Estimation of percolation threshold

Zara Khizer, Jorabar Singh Nirwan, Barbara Conway, Muhammad Usman Ghori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study aims to explore the potential of gum extracted from okra fruit (Hibiscus esculentus) in developing hydrophilic matrices for controlled drug release applications, including determination of its percolation threshold. Flurbiprofen (poorly soluble), theophylline (sparingly soluble) and metformin (freely soluble) were employed as model drugs and incorporated using direct compression into matrices containing 40% w/w of three drugs with different physicochemical properties. Atomic force microscopy was used to study the surface texture properties of developed matrices; the surfaces of the flurbiprofen-based matrices were comparatively rough most likely as a consequence of its poor compactability. Swelling studies found that the swelling rate increased as the concentration of okra gum was increased. However, for all matrices, an increase in the gum concentration resulted in decreased drug release. The estimated percolation threshold of the okra gum calculated was found in the region of ~25% v/v plus initial porosity. Knowing the percolation threshold will enable formulators to use the minimal amount of polymer for sustain release matrices thus the controlling costs and maximising the sustainable potential of okra. This study will not only assist researchers in developing effective okra gum-based extended-release matrices but also expected to contribute towards its exploration at an industrial scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-845
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Early online date30 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2020


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