Pectin-derived matrices are now being examined and tested for controlled drug delivery. Pectin is intact in the upper gastrointestinal tract and degraded by colonic microflora. The composition of this microflora remains relatively consistent across a diverse human population. Thus, pectin-derived drug carriers provide promising potential for colon-specific drug delivery. This paper reviews recent developments in pectin-derived formulations. Subjects reviewed include gelation of pectin, calcium cross-linked pectinate, composites of pectin and other polymers, technologies to fabricate pectin into useful drug delivery vehicles, and methods to evaluate release kinetics of incorporated drugs. This article discusses advantages, limitations, and possible future developments in pectin-based formulations with particular emphasis on the field of colon-specific drug delivery.
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