Chitosan nanocarriers containing essential oils as a green strategy to improve the functional properties of chitosan: A review

Y. Yang, M. Aghbashlo, V.K. Gupta, H. Amiri, J. Pan, M. Tabatabaei*, A. Rajaei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Large amounts of agricultural waste, especially marine product waste, are produced annually. These wastes can be used to produce compounds with high-added value. Chitosan is one such valuable product that can be obtained from crustacean wastes. Various biological activities of chitosan and its derivatives, especially antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, have been confirmed by many studies. The unique characteristics of chitosan, especially chitosan nanocarriers, have led to the expansion of using chitosan in various sectors, especially in biomedical sciences and food industries. On the other hand, essential oils, known as volatile and aromatic compounds of plants, have attracted the attention of researchers in recent years. Like chitosan, essential oils have various biological activities, including antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer. In recent years, one of the ways to improve the biological properties of chitosan is to use essential oils encapsulated in chitosan nanocarriers. Among the various biological activities of chitosan nanocarriers containing essential oils, most studies conducted in recent years have been in the field of antimicrobial activity. It was documented that the antimicrobial activity was increased by reducing the size of chitosan particles in the nanoscale. In addition, the antimicrobial activity was intensified when essential oils were in the structure of chitosan nanoparticles. Essential oils can increase the antimicrobial activity of chitosan nanoparticles with synergistic effects. Using essential oils in the structure of chitosan nanocarriers can also improve the other biological properties (antioxidant and anticancer activities) of chitosan and increase the application fields of chitosan. Of course, using essential oils in chitosan nanocarriers for commercial use requires more studies, including stability during storage and effectiveness in real environments. This review aims to overview recent studies on the biological effects of essential oils encapsulated in chitosan nanocarriers, with notes on their biological mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123954
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Early online date13 Mar 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 May 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Biological mechanisms
  • Chitosan
  • Encapsulation
  • Essential oil
  • Green strategy
  • Nanocarrier


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