Planta Med 2021; 87(03): 236-251
DOI: 10.1055/a-1289-4505
Formulation and Delivery Systems of Natural Products

Nanoencapsulation of Plant Volatile Organic Compounds to Improve Their Biological Activities

Hakmin Mun
1  Nuffield Department of Womenʼs and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Helen E. Townley
1  Nuffield Department of Womenʼs and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
2  Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
› Author Affiliations


Plant volatile organic compounds (volatiles) are secondary plant metabolites that play crucial roles in the reproduction, defence, and interactions with other vegetation. They have been shown to exhibit a broad range of biological properties and have been investigated for antimicrobial and anticancer activities. In addition, they are thought be more environmentally friendly than many other synthetic chemicals [1]. Despite these facts, their applications in the medical, food, and agricultural fields are considerably restricted due to their volatilities, instabilities, and aqueous insolubilities. Nanoparticle encapsulation of plant volatile organic compounds is regarded as one of the best strategies that could lead to the enhancement of the bioavailability and biological activity of the volatile compounds by overcoming their physical limitations and promoting their controlled release and cellular absorption. In this review, we will discuss the biosynthesis and analysis of plant volatile organic compounds, their biological activities, and limitations. Furthermore, different types of nanoparticle platforms used to encapsulate the volatiles and the biological efficacies of nanoencapsulated volatile organic compounds will be covered.

Publication History

Received: 22 June 2020

Accepted after revision: 11 October 2020

Publication Date:
11 November 2020 (online)

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