Microencapsulation includes all the technologies that allow the coating or entrapment of active ingredients inside individual particles which the size varies from several microns to several millimeters.
Encapsulating an active principle meets four main objectives which can be combined:
- Immobilization (e.g., volatile aromatic compounds in detergency, enzymes used during continuous bioconversion processes)
- Protection or stabilization against adverse environmental factors (e.g., probiotic bacteria in a gastric medium, fish oil in infant milk formula)
- Controlled or delayed release on the action site (e.g., rumen by pass for feed applications, additives for concrete)
- Functionalization of structuration (e.g., converting oil into powder form, taste and odor masking, improving the flow properties of a powder, visual aspect and marketing)
Microencapsulation is present in all areas of the industrial sector, and there are more and more ways in which it can be applied. Yet, the existence of a large number of techniques, as well as the multitude of parameters at stake, make the choices in this field of expertise difficult for a novice.