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Innovations in microencapsulation techniques

By Nathan Gray , 07-Dec-2010

A new microencapsulation technique that produces smaller more uniform particles could replace less accurate microencapsulation techniques, according to researchers at Dutch institute TNO.

Microcapsules are tiny particles that contain an active agent or core material surrounded by a shell or coating. They are increasingly used in food ingredients preparations, nutrient supplements and pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Kjeld van Bommel, Innovator in Materials Technology at TNO said the new technology developed by at the research centre produces encapsulated droplets with less than 0.1 per cent size distribution – far more accurate than other encapsulation techniques.

“If you are looking for a product where the particle distribution is very homogeneous, where the properties of the particles are very uniform, then this is a technique that I think has some advantages over current techniques,” said van Bommel.

He added that the current encapsulation printer, based on printer head technology, is a “proof of concept” which works on a laboratory and niche market scale - producing around 200 grams per hour. TNO research are now working on producing the next generation of equipment, which should have higher output in order to meet industry demands, he said.

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