Liposomes are spherical vesicles made up of an aqueous core surrounded by phospholipids. These delivery systems (DS) are largely employed as drug carriers in several industrial fields, such as pharmaceutical and nutraceutical fields. The aim of this short review is to provide a fast overview on the main fundamentals of liposomes, thought as a compact guide for researchers and students that want to approach this topic for the first time. The mini-review will focus on the definitions, production methods and characterization protocols of the liposomes produced, making a critical comparison of the main conventional and supercritical based manufacturing methods available. The literature was analyzed deeply from the first works by Dr. Bangham in 1965 to the most recent supercritical fluid applications. The advantages and disadvantages of conventional and high-pressure processes will be described in terms of solvent elimination, production at the nanometric (50-300 nm) and micrometric level (1-100 μm) and encapsulation efficiency (20-90%). The first proposed methods were characterized by a low encapsulation efficiency (20-40%), resulting in drug loss, a high solvent residue and high operating cost. The repeatability of conventional processes was also low, due to the prevalent batch mode. Supercritical-assisted methods were developed in semi-continuous layouts, resulting in an easy process scale-up, better control of liposome dimensions (polydispersity index, PDI) and also higher encapsulation efficiencies (up to 90%).
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