Nano vesicles discovered in food industry by-products

Its use would allow the administration of drugs at personalised, more effective doses and avoid side effects

Administering drugs through beer, wine or yoghurt is a closer possibility thanks to the discovery of the presence of nano vesicles in by-products of the food industry. A finding made by the research group of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine of Lleida (IRBLleida), +Pec Proteomics, led by Xavier Gallart-Palau in collaboration with the research team at IMDEA-Food Research Institute of Madrid, headed by Aida Serra, in which the Gynecological and Peritoneal Oncology group of the Research Institute of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the Department of Experimental Medicine of the University of Lleida, the University Hospital Institut Pere Mata of Reus, the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV) of Reus and the Centre for Biomedical Research Network in Mental Health CIBERSAM of the Carlos III Health Institute of Madrid have also participated. The research has been published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Food contains extracellular vesicles, particles secreted by all cell types, which are used to communicate with other cells in the body. These vesicles are naturally occurring and are ingested daily through the consumption of foods such as milk and dairy products, edible plants and plant derivatives, and fermented foods. For this reason, the research team has analysed brewer's yeast (provided by the Mahou San Miguel brewery), whey from a natural yoghurt, a bacterial culture and yeast from a fermented tea drink and fermented wine (provided by the Castell de Remei winery).

The research has shown that these vesicles, dubbed BP-EVs, have a high potential to be used as nanovectors for drug delivery. "The finding, which was protected by a European patent last November, indicates excellent abilities to improve the bioavailability of drugs targeted in the central nervous system. This action should make it possible to reduce the dose of drug administration while increasing its effectiveness," explained researcher Xavier Gallart-Palau.

"This reduction in the dose of the drug and its circulation in biological fluids through its encapsulation is expected to drastically reduce the side effects associated with the administration of these drugs," said researcher Aida Serra. In addition, these vesicles should make it possible to convert drugs that currently cannot be administered orally. The research team has optimised the production of these vesicles, taking into account their potential industrial scalability, and has described the bases for multiple applications in the fields of biotechnology and biomedicine.

These vesicles come from the recycling of food industry waste, which improves their availability, drastically reducing the cost of obtaining them and contributing to the progress of the circular economy. At the same time, they have proven to be non-toxic for use. Because of these characteristics, the finding represents the best current source of extracellular vesicles for use as nanovectors for molecule delivery.

This research has been possible thanks to funding from the Consejería de Investigación y Educación de la Comunidad de Madrid (2018-T1/BIO-10633), the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (PID2020), the Subdirección de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica de la Comunidad de Madrid, the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI20/00623, CD19/00243, CP21/00096, CPII20/00007), the 'Programa Talento' 2018 of the Community of Madrid and the European Social Fund for the recruitment of pre-doctoral researchers (PEJD-2019-PRE/BIO-16475).

Article: Lorca, C., Laparra, M., Céspedes, M. V., Casaní, L., Florit, S., Jové, M., Mota-Martorell, N., Vilella, E., Gallart-Palau, X., Serra, A., Industrial By-Products As a Novel Circular Source of Biocompatible Extracellular Vesicles. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2022, 2202700.

The +Pec Proteomics research group, directed by Xavier Gallart-Palau