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Microencapsulation and its application in micronutrient fortification through “engineered” staple foods

*Corresponding author
1. California State Polytechnic University, Dept. of Human Nutrition & Food Science. 3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768, USA
2. University of Toronto, Dept. of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, 200 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E5, Canada


Despite the relatively small quantities required for micronutrients in the body, the challenge is the safe and effective delivery of them through food production and consumption; therefore, innovative technologies are always on demand. Microencapsulation is an enabling technology with promises in fulfilment of all technical requirements. We have then developed and successfully demonstrated a microencapsulation-based technology platform for fortification of typical staple foods on different size scales. Specifically, premixes containing selected multiple micronutrients and made by a series of encapsulation techniques, had matching physical characteristics when blended into market salt, sugar, or rice, as to be indistinguishable to the consumer. The processes have been scaled up and were successful in pilot and commercial scale tests in Asia and Latin America.


Microencapsulation is not a new idea; it is a technology in use for over 50 years in the pharmaceutical, biological, nutritional, and food science fields. Simply, it is a process whereby small particles, such as bioactive substances, are protected from their environment by enveloping or entrapping them within a protective coating material. The latest advances in drug delivery have their roots in basic microencapsulation, and open up broader applications in other fields.
The design of a microencapsulated system generally involves a core ingredient, a wall material, and an appropriate technique or process to coat or entrap the core using the wall material. The core ingredient is the basic factor that needs to be protected, masked or released in a controlled manner. An effective combination of appropriate wall materials and encapsulation techniques is the key to developing a microencapsulated system and plays an important role in the physical and chemical properties of the resulting microparticles, such as particle size, porosity, density, flowability, integrity, reactivity/stability, and release p ...

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