Genistein is an isoflavone with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. That said, its use in the industry is limited by its low solubility in aqueous systems. In this work, bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) and BNC modified with cetyltrimethylammonium (BNC-CTAB) were evaluated as genistein-encapsulating materials for their controlled release in cancer chemoprevention. Thin films were obtained and characterized by contact angle, AFM, TEM, UV–Vis spectroscopy FTIR, and TGA techniques to verify surface modification and genistein encapsulation. The results show a decrease in hydrophilization degree and an increase in diameter after BNC modification. Furthermore, the affinity of genistein with the encapsulating materials was determined in the context of monolayer and multilayer isotherms, thermodynamic parameters and adsorption kinetics. Spontaneous, endothermic and reversible adsorption processes were found for BNC-GEN and BNC-CTAB-GEN. After two hours, the maximum adsorption capacity corresponded to 4.59 mg GEN∙g−1 BNC and 6.10 mg GEN∙g−1 BNC-CTAB; the latter was a more stable system. Additionally, in vitro release assays performed with simulated gastrointestinal fluids indicated controlled and continuous desorption in gastric and colon fluids, with a release of around 5% and 85%, respectively, for either system. Finally, the IC50 tests made it possible to determine the amounts of films required to achieve therapeutic concentrations for SW480 and SW620 cell lines.
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