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The Food Navigator: One step microcapsules will provide new opportunities and benefits for industry

The Food Navigator

Nathan Gray, 10-Feb-2012

An innovative new technology platform could provide manufacturers and food formulators with greater control and speed when producing encapsulated ingredients such as flavours and bioactive ingredients, say its developers.

The new technology – a single-step method for producing ‘smart’ microcapsules using fluid droplets – is said to have potential commercial applications in food, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals, among others. Developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, and published in prestigious academic journal Science, the team behind the new technology promises that the ‘one-step’ microcapsules offer several advantages over currently used techniques.

Speaking with FoodNavigator.com, Dr Oren Scherman from the department of chemistry at Cambridge explained that the fluid technology used by the new platforms means that microcapsules have little variation in terms of size, and are “highly reproducible and scalable.” “I think that the fundamental advance that we have taken is the ability to both formulate the capsule and encapsulate cargo in a single step, so all the molecules and components are dynamically assembled simultaneously,” said Scherman, who was one of several researchers from the University of Cambridge involved in the platform’s development.

“We have on demand capability for release, and you can also have whatever you want as far as capsule size, or cargo, all in a uniform structure,” he said, noting that he was sure that there was “a lot of opportunity within the food manufacturing and production domain.”

“Because it’s a platform technology, it has a lot of applicability to many diverse areas, and I think that is something we are keen to explore through contact current leaders in the field,” added the expert.

The full report can be found in The Food Navigator.