Publications serve as the concrete art form for the scientist. It is his modus operandi. Authorship is akin to success and achievement. It cannot and should not deteriorate into a bargaining tool or commodity. Dardik
Sibanda, W., Pillay, V., Danckwerts, M.P., Viljoen, A.M., Van Vuuren, S.F., Riaz, A. 2004. Experimental Design for the fomulation and optimization of novel cross-linked oilispheres developed for in vitro site specific release of Mentha piperita oil. AAPS PharmSciTech 5: 1–14.

A Plackett-Burman design was employed to develop and optimize a novel crosslinked calcium-aluminum-alginate-pectinate oilisphere complex as a potential system for the in vitro site-specific release of Mentha piperita, an essential oil used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. The physicochemical and textural properties (dependent variables) of this complex were found to be highly sensitive to changes in the concentration of the polymers (0%-1.5% wt/vol), crosslinkers (0%-4% wt/vol), and crosslinking reaction times (0.5-6 hours) (independent variables). Particle size analysis indicated both unimodal and bimodal populations with the highest frequency of 2 mm oilispheres. Oil encapsulation ranged from 6 to 35 mg/100 mg oilispheres. Gravimetric changes of the crosslinked matrix indicated significant ion sequestration and loss in an exponential manner, while matrix erosion followed Higuchi's cube root law. Among the various measured responses, the total fracture energy was the most suitable optimization objective (R2 = 0.88, Durbin-Watson Index = 1.21%, Coefficient of Variation (CV) = 33.21%). The Lagrangian technique produced no significant differences (P > 0.05) between the experimental and predicted total fracture energy values (0.0150 vs 0.0107 J). Artificial Neural Networks, as an alternative predictive tool of the total fracture energy, was highly accurate (final mean square error of optimal network epoch ≈0.02). Fused-coated optimized oilispheres produced a 4-hour lag phase followed by zero-order kinetics (n > 0.99), whereby analysis of release data indicated that diffusion (Fickian constant k1 = 0.74 vs relaxation constant k2 = 0.02) was the predominant release mechanism.

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