Iron and Omega-3 Boosted Milk Enabled by Microencapsulation

Microencapsulation has allowed a Costa Rican dairy manufacturer to produce a milk enriched with both omega-3 fatty acids and iron, two normally incompatible compounds. From Nutra Ingredients-USA:

Austrian-based microencapsulation specialist, GAT Food Essentials, is supplying latin America’s largest dairy with an omega-3 form that is allowing the dairy to offer a difficult to achieve, non-chilled milk containing both iron and the healthy lipid.

The Costa Rican dairy, Dos Pinos, sampled the product in select outlets over the summer, and has followed that with a full-scale supermarket launch of the product, Cardilac, that is being marketed with a heart health claim.

GAT general manager, Stefan Thueringer, said Dos Pinos was impressed by the fact GAT could guarantee a four-month shelf life for Cardilac with no processing or machinery changes required to accommodate the ingredient.

The product, which employs a Norwegian fish oil encapsulated by GAT, had to overcome the difficulty of incorporating omega-3 and iron in one product, because as Thueringer told, “iron and omega-3 don’t go well together”.

The company’s encapsulation experts were able to find a way to incorporate the ingredient along with iron whilst dealing with the heat-related demands of UHT to make it central and south America’s first UHT milk with both omega-3 and boosted iron levels.

Encapsulated Curcumin from Curry Spice Turmeric May Fight Disease

Recent clinical tests have found that curcumin is more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream when encapsulated in a liposome. This bioactive yellow compound extracted from the curry spice turmeric serves as an antioxidant and may be useful in treating a number of diseases. From Private MD News:

The study, which appears in the American Cancer Society’s bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, notes that curcumin, an ingredient in yellow curry and the spice turmeric, is known to act as a powerful antioxidant. Because of this property, researchers are performing testing to detect whether the spice can be safely used to treat diseases like colon cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer’s disease.

One obstacle to treatments, however, is that digestive juices in the gastrointestinal tract quickly destroy curcumin so that very little is absorbed by the bloodstream.

In the past, scientists have encapsulated drugs like insulin into small structures called liposomes, which can improve absorption of the chemicals. Researchers Koji Wada and colleagues are testing whether samples of curcumin, when encapsulated in liposomes, are more effectively immersed into the bloodstreams of laboratory rats.

View the full study
in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Here is the abstract:

To enhance the curcumin absorption by oral administration, liposome-encapsulated curcumin (LEC) was prepared from commercially available lecithins (SLP-WHITE and SLP-PC70) and examined for its interfacial and biochemical properties. A LEC prepared from 5 wt % of SLP-PC70 and 2.5 wt % of curcumin gave a good dispersibility with 68.0% encapsulation efficiency for curcumin, while those from SLP-WHITE did not. Moreover, the resulting LEC using SLP-PC70 was confirmed to be composed of small unilamellar vesicles with a diameter of approximately 263 nm. The resulting LEC was then examined for its effect on bioavailability in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Three forms of curcumin [curcumin, a mixture of curcumin and SLP-PC70 (lecithin), and LEC] were then administered orally to SD rats at a dose of 100 mg curcumin/kg body weight. The pharmacokinetic parameters following curcumin administration were determined in each form. Pharmacokinetic parameters after oral administration of LEC were compared to those of curcumin and a mixture of curcumin and lecithin. High bioavailability of curcumin was evident in the case of oral LEC; a faster rate and better absorption of curcumin were observed as compared to the other forms. Oral LEC gave higher Cmax and shorter Tmax values, as well as a higher value for the area under the blood concentration-time curve, at all time points. These results indicated that curcumin enhanced the gastrointestinal absorption by liposomes encapsulation. Interestingly, the plasma antioxidant activity following oral LEC was significantly higher than that of the other treatments. In addition, the plasma curcumin concentration was significantly correlated to plasma antioxidant activities, and enhanced curcumin plasma concentrations might exert a stronger influence on food functionality of curcumin. The available information strongly suggests that liposome encapsulation of ingredients such as curcumin may be used as a novel nutrient delivery system.

Nanocapsules for Artificial Photosynthesis?


Imitating photosynthesis in plants? If we were to accomplish this, mankind would have a little less to worry about. Chemists from the University of Würzburg have now made progress on the road to achieving artificial photosynthesis.

The structure that has been developed in the university’s Organic Chemistry laboratory is fascinatingly complex: thousands of similar molecules are packed together to create a capsule that is filled with molecules of a different kind. The diameter of one capsule is a mere 20 to 50 nanometers, which is one ten-thousandth of a pinhead.

Structures that are so elaborate are far from the ordinary in chemistry. So, it is hardly surprising that these Würzburg nanocapsules appear on the front page of the November issue of the journal “Nature Chemistry”. What is more, they can also do something that has not been described before for chemically synthesized molecules.

Nanocapsules possess a property that is important in photosynthesis in plants: the molecules inside the capsule absorb light energy and emit some of this again in the form of fluorescent light. The rest of it, however, is transmitted by energy transfer to the capsule molecules, which then also cast fluorescent light.

As far as photosynthesis is concerned nothing different happens, to put it simply: molecules harness energy from sunlight and transmit it to other molecules in a complex process, at the end of which the energy is bound chemically. The sun’s power then sits in valuable carbohydrates that plants, animals, and people use to generate the energy they need to live.

In principle, therefore, the nanocapsules should make suitable components for an artificial photosynthesis contraption. “They would even use the light far more efficiently than plants because their synthetic bilayer membranes would be composed entirely of photoactive material,” says Professor Frank Würthner.

Danisco Increases Probiotic Culture Survival With Encapsulation

From Alibaba:

Danisco Bio Actives has unveiled outstanding initial results using novel encapsulation technology to improve the survival of probiotic cultures at high temperatures and during storage in semi-moist applications.

Trials with an encapsulated Lactobacillus acidophilus culture have found that resistance to temperatures up to 50°C (122°F) increased tenfold when heat treatment was applied for 24 hours under dry conditions. In addition, the probiotic strain retained 60% viability after five months’ storage at room temperature in a nutritional bar with a moisture level of 0.35Aw.

Additional tests with the encapsulated probiotic in a recombined cheese application showed processing resistance 2,500 times superior to that of the control.

Isabelle Mazeaud, bioprocess development senior scientist at Danisco, presented the technology at the Industrial Workshop on Microencapsulation of Flavors and Bioactives in Minnesota, US.

“A high level of probiotic survival all through process and storage is technically and economically critical for food and supplement manufacturers,” she said. “The new encapsulation technique will eventually open up new development possibilities in nutrition bars, infant formulas, breakfast cereals, powder beverages and processed cheese.”

Controversy About Poison Encapsulation Surrounding Factory in Southern France

There is a continuing controversy stirring in Bassens, a city in south-western France, surrounding a microencapsulation plant owned by Cerexagri, a division of United Phosphorus Limited. The plant manufactures encapsulated methyl parathion, an insecticide and acaricide which is also extremely hazardous to humans. Parathion usage is banned or restricted in 23 countries, and illegal to import in 50 countries.

Workers, local residents, and government in Bassens have been debating whether this deadly substance should be produced in their community. Seasonal production stopped in June, but is due to be resumed in November.

Read the article in the original French or read the Google Translation.

Encapsulated Pendimethalin Herbicide Formulations Released

From Farmers Weekly Interactive:

“But both Makhteshim (Cinder) and BASF (Stomp Aqua) have been working on a new formulation that uses polymer technology to encase the active ingredient within capsules that are suspended in water.

It is the encapsulation that helps minimise staining and makes rinsing of jugs and cans much easier compared with EC formulations, Sarah Mountford-Smith of BASF explains. “The active ingredient is locked inside the polymer coat preventing direct contact of the pendimethalin with the walls of the jug.”

Once diluted in the spray tank the capsules absorb water causing the polymer wall to expand and swell. Some rupture in the spray tank and during the course of spraying to release the active ingredient. Those that don’t rupture are primed to release on further contact with moisture, Mrs Mountford-Smith explains.

Typically in UK conditions that means the capsules will open at or soon after spraying, although if it does remain dry the controlled release should mean the capsules open when there is sufficient moisture to encourage weed germination.

Another potential advantage is for min-till users, she adds. “One of the properties of pendimethalin, particularly the EC formulation, is it has an affinity for organic matter, such as crop trash, which can effect efficacy. Micro-encapsulation minimises that binding meaning it should be delivered to the soil where it needs to be for weed control.”

Field trials will look at that theory in more detail this autumn, although other trials have confirmed some benefits, she says. In non-trashy seed-beds the performance of the different formulations is comparable.”

What is Spray Drying?

Spray drying is a method frequently used for microencapsulation in which an active ingredient is dissolved into a polymer solution, sprayed through a nozzle, and trapped in the resulting dried particles. Here is an introduction to the process and applications of spray drying:

Spray drying is a method of producing a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by rapidly drying with a hot gas. This is the preferred method of drying of many thermally-sensitive materials such as foods and pharmaceuticals. A consistent particle size distribution is a reason for spray drying some industrial products such as catalysts. Air is the heated drying media; however, if the liquid is a flammable solvent, such as ethanol, or the product is oxygen sensitive nitrogen is used.

All spray dryers use some type of atomizer or spray nozzle to disperse the liquid or slurry into a controlled drop size spray. The most common of these are rotary nozzles and single-fluid pressure swirl nozzles. Alternatively, for some applications two-fluid or ultrasonic nozzle are used. Depending on the process needs drop sizes from 10 to 500 micron can be achieved with the appropriate choices. The most common applications are in the 100 to 200 micron diameter range.

The hot drying gas can be passed as a co-current or counter-current flow to the atomiser direction. The co-current flow enables the particles to have a lower residence time within the system and the particle separator (typically a cyclone device) operates more efficiently. The counter-current flow method enables a greater residence time of the particles in the chamber and usually is paired with a fluidised bed system.

Spray drying often is used as an encapsulation technique by the food and pharmaceutical industries. A substance to be encapsulated (the load) and an amphipathic carrier (usually some sort of modified starch) are homogenized as a suspension in water (the slurry). The slurry is then fed into a spray drier, usually a tower heated to temperatures well over the boiling point of water.

As the slurry enters the tower, it is atomized. Partly because of the high surface tension of water and partly because of the hydrophobic/hydrophilic interactions between the amphipathic carrier, the water, and the load, the atomized slurry forms micelles. The small size of the drops (averaging 100 micrometers in diameter) results in a relatively large surface area which dries quickly. As the water dries, the carrier forms a hardened shell around the load. (Text from, released under a CC-ASL 3.0 license)

Food Encapsulation Market Estimated to be $35.4 billion in 2014

The market research company MarketsandMarkets claims that the food encapsulation will be a $35.4 billion industry by 2014 in their latest pricy market research report. From PR Newswire:

According to a new market research report, ‘Global Food Encapsulation Market’ (2009 – 2014)’, published by MarketsandMarkets ( analyzes the food encapsulation technology, ingredients and packaging market over the period 2009-2014. The report studies the major market drivers, restraints, and opportunities for the global food encapsulation market; and also evaluates the major trends in the macro- and micro-markets with respect to different geographic regions.

The global food encapsulation market is estimated to be $35.4 billion by 2014, growing at a CAGR of 6.9 % from 2009 to 2014, driven by factors such as increased shelf life and enhanced bioavailability offered by food encapsulation technologies. The markets for food encapsulation technology, ingredients and packaging are expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7%, 6.2% and 4.1% respectively.

With increase in demands for functional or health enhancing convenience foods, due to increased health awareness globally, food encapsulation has seen numerous developments in the recent years. Rapid growth is expected in food categories such as microwavable foods, convenience foods and fortified foods.

Company Offers Vitamin Enriched Spices Through Microencapsulation

From Philadelphia Business Journal:

VitaminSpice, which has developed and markets a line of spices and seasonings blended with vitamins, is now a publicly traded company.

The Wayne, Pa., company was bought by Qualsec, a shell company traded on the OTC Bulletin Board, in a reverse merger.

“We pursued the reverse merger strategy to raise funds at higher valuations while providing additional liquidity for VitaminSpice investors,” said Ed Bukstel, VitaminSpice’s founder and CEO. “We are also looking at potential acquisition targets that will be complementary to our business. As a public company we have more options to pursue tactical and strategic objectives.”

Qualsec has changed its name to VitaminSpice. Under the terms of the deal, Qualsec issued 100 million shares of common stock to the 10 interest holders of Vitamin Spice. Control of Qualsec was assumed by Learned J. Hand, who received 50,000 shares for “Services rendered,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

VitaminSpice’s stock is now trading at 39 cents per share.

The company is selling four products — black pepper, ground cinnamon, granulated garlic and crushed red pepper — with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants added through a proprietary microencapsulation process.

Gold Encapsulated RNA and Lasers to Fight Cancer

New research at UCSB is investigating using RNA-filled gold nanocapsules with a peptide-lipid coating to fight cancer cells. The nanoparticles are introduced into the cell using a pulsed near-infrared laser. From Nanowerk:

“The scientists used cancer cells from mice, and grew them in culture. They then introduced gold nanoshells, with a peptide-lipid coating, that encapsulated “silencing ribonucleic acid” (siRNA), which was the drug that was taken up by the cells. Next, they exposed the cells to a non-harmful infrared laser.

“A major technical hurdle is how to combine multiple biochemical components into a compact nanoparticle which may be taken up by cells and exist stably until the release is desired,” said Gary Braun, first author and a graduate student in UCSB’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Laser-controlled release is a convenient and powerful tool, allowing precise dosing of particular cells within a group. The use of biologically friendly tissue penetration with near-infrared light is the ideal for extending this capability into larger biological systems such as tissues and animals.”

The authors demonstrated, for the first time, the delivery of a potent siRNA cargo inside mammalian cancer cells, released by exposing the internalized nanoparticles for several seconds to a pulsed near-infrared laser tuned for peak absorption with a specific spatial pattern. The technique can be expanded to deliver numerous drug molecules against diverse biological targets.