Minerals, unlike vitamins, are coated not so much as to protect them from the environment as to protect the rest of the formulation from them. Iron, for example, can trigger the oxidation of fats and oils in infant formulas and reduce the bioavailability of both the oils and the mineral. Copper has been known to cause an undesirable blue color in foods, while calcium tends to create gritty texture and chalky taste.
Biodar microencapsulation technology from PL Thomas overcomes these taste and texture issues, so processors – often limited to adding small amounts of minerals – can add up to 100 percent of the daily requirement of iron, calcium, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc.
Encapsulation allows for delaying the action of sodium bicarbonate in foods such as Red Baron's Bake To Rise pizza, manufactured by Schwan's Consumer Brands, Bloomington, Minn. Cameron, Wis.-based Primera Foods (www.primerafoods.com) created the PrimeCap Bakery Blend line of encapsulated leavening systems so a balanced blend of sodium bicarbonate and phosphate is release only when desired -- in the oven or microwave -- to create the increased volume and textural characteristics desired by consumers.
Microencapsulation also is being used by Maxx Performance (www.maxxperform.com), Chester, N.Y., to deliver phytonutrients including sulbutiamine – a nootropic or cognitive enhancement compound gaining prominence in the dietary supplement arena – pure resveratrol for cardiovascular health and glucaric acid with potential anti-cancer properties. According to CEO Winston Samuels, microencapsulation is merging novel technologies with traditional food processing to create foods that can enhance performance.
Even newer technologies
There are even more encapsulation technologies in the pipeline. BASF (www.basf.com), Florham Park, N.J., adds several layers of natural material to coat microspheres of ingredients to create Cavis Microcaps.
Just as a teabag retains the tea leaves but allows in water, Cavis Microcaps contain yeast but allow sugar to be transported through the membrane to allow fermentation to occur inside the multilayer capsule. Made from algae, silica, calcium and oil, the capsules are suitable for encapsulation of vitamins, minerals, probiotics and fatty acids and are a very gentle encapsulation process.
Cavis Microcaps with yeast are used to make sparkling wine. Carbon dioxide and alcohol produced inside the Microcaps can exit into the wine without the risk of yeast turning the wine turbid. They also can lower wine production costs because the yeast capsules are easier to separate from the wine than pure yeast.
NutraLease micrencapsulation technology from NutraLease Ltd. (www.nutralease.com) of Mishor, Adumin, Israel, delivers CoQ10 in nano-sized vehicles for beverages. The micro-emulsion technology uses micelles, which are self-assembled structured liquid particles with a diameter of 30 nanometers or less. These small particles readily penetrate cell membranes and dramatically increase the bioavailability of the phytonutrients they carry and protect.
"Encapsulation technology is advancing at an incredible rate," according to Ram Chaudhari, senior vice president-research and development at Fortitech, Inc., Schenectady, N.Y. "The number of fortified products these days has grown – from simple fortified flours of yesterday to complex solutions and even tube feeding."
Kantha Shelke is a principal at Corvus Blue LLC, a Chicago firm that specializes in competitive intelligence and expert witness services. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-951-5810.