Casein nanomicelles, a major fraction of milk protein, are emerging as a novel drug delivery system owing to their various structural and functional properties. Casein is further divided into α-, β- and κ-casein, and to date various models have been proposed to describe casein structure, but still no definite structure presenting a detailed assembly of the casein micelle has been found. Thus far, the submicellar model and Horne and Holt model are the most accepted models. This article presents a detailed review of casein micelles and their fractions, and the physicochemical properties that account for their numerous applications in nutraceutics, pharmaceutics and cosmetics. Due to their nanosize and self-assembling nature, casein nanomicelles are considered as excellent delivery carriers to provide better bioavailability and stability of various compounds such as vitamins, oils, polyphenols, fattyacids and minerals. Their amphiphilic nature also provides a great opportunity to deliver hydrophobic bioactives in various drug delivery systems such as nanoparticles, nanomicelles, nanogels and nanoemulsions to improve drug binding and targeting.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.