What is microencapsulation? Particles of less than 1 mm in diameter are produced, typically by coating particles or droplets of interest, with a uniform and continuous film to modify their properties. A range of materials are suited for use as the capsule material including lipids, wax, modified starch, cellulose, phospholipids, alginates and other natural biopolymers. Microencapsulation is used in a wide range of cross-sector applications and provides many advantages including:
Converting liquids to solids for improved handling and safety
Providing sustained release formulations
Controlled/delayed release of flavours, pesticides or pharmaceuticals
Masking taste, smell and colour (of fish oils or plant extracts for example)
Stabilizing volatile flavours and fragrances to improve shelf life
Protection of flavours during high heat processes including deep fat frying
Protection of volatiles during extrusion processing
Suppression of reactions between recipe ingredients in the premixes or the final products
Protection of sensitive materials from the extremes of pH or light exposure
Providing tools for forming nanoparticles or nanodispersions
Stabilization of starter cultures, enzymes, vitamins, pro-vitamins
Economical, efficient and reproducible manufacturing processes
The use of micro-organisms as bio-capsules, as an alternative to traditional microencapsulation processes, was first considered in the 1970s. It was discovered that yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) could be used to trap water soluble substances for use in medical, cosmetic and food products. Yeast also provides a water dispersible matrix as a complex delivery system for fat soluble materials, for example essential oils, flavours, biocides, fungicides and herbicides. This technology offers the potential of targeted release, flavour retention during high temperature processing and protection from evaporation of volatile components. For more information see "Yeast Biocapsules: More than just a carrier for food flavours"
A wide range of tools are available to innovative formulators and we can supply the means to research, develop and produce prototype materials for trial and scale-up.
You can download a white paper on microencapsulation here.