Microencapsulation includes all the technologies allowing to coat or trap active ingredients inside individual particles whose size varies from a few microns to a few millimeters.
The encapsulation of an active ingredient meets four main objectives that can be combined:
- Retention (e.g., volatile aromatic compounds in detergents, enzymes used in continuous bioconversion processes)
- Stabilization or Protection against the environment (e.g., probiotic bacteria in stomach acid, fish oil in infant milk formula)
- Controlled or delayed release on the action site (e.g., semen in the field of artificial insemination, admixtures for concrete)
- Functionalization or structuring (e.g. converting oil into powder, odors and taste masking, improving the flow properties of a powder, visual aspect)
The field of microencapsulation impacts all industry sectors, and its applications are constantly increasing. However, the very large number of techniques and the multiplicity of parameters involved make choices difficult.