Encapsulating materials obtained from natural sources are increasingly being used in food and non-food sectors. Biopolymers such as pectin from citrus fruits has been widely incorporated to various food systems like jams, bakery goods, confectionery and dairy products as stabilizers and thickening agents as well as to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics via microencapsulation or coating for drug delivery. Although pectin is an especially attractive material for microencapsulation due to its functionality as dietary fiber, relatively low cost and renewable nature, difficulties have arisen during microcapsule formation due to is high solubility in water as chemicals and temperature are needed to obtain homogeneous and stable microcapsules, which has limited its application in the food sector.
Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a new green method to produce stable,
homogeneous pectin microcapsules able to contain either thermostable or thermolabile bioactives such as fat and water-soluble vitamins and essential oils. Microcapsules loaded with bioactives can be incorporated to edible biopolymer-based films to control the release of bioactives during chewing. Unlike other methods of production, this method is quick, requiring less than 10 min for microcapsules formation, and involves temperatures of 35°C or less, thereby allowing the encapsulation of temperature sensitive bioactives as well as traditional bioactives. This technology establishes a cost effective, uncomplicated and industrially feasible process to produce microcapsules loaded with bioactives, flavours and/or aroma that can be incorporated to chewable films for targeted desirable effects.
- Eatable, no chemical additives, crosslinkers, or emulsifiers
- Environmentally friendly, solvent-free production
- Inexpensive and renewable in nature
The invention represents a valuable opportunity for use in the food, biomedical, and pharmaceutical industries.
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta