Believe it or not, most of the encapsulation and microencapsulation techniques in use today—spray drying, spray chilling and fluidized beds, among them—haven’t evolved much since they were first introduced during the World War II era. But market conditions and consumer demand have changed dramatically since then, along with the need for more sophisticated food and feed production processes.
The length of storage from farm to table has increased dramatically, for one. Fast food options are becoming more prevalent and less cooking is done at home. People on the west coast want to experience the same flavors they find in Jamaica. Makers of fortified dietary supplements and sports nutrition products are looking for all-in-one ingredients with enhanced bioavialability and without bitter taste.
Animal feed manufacturers are no different. Poultry and swine integrators from Colorado to Brazil are concerned about reducing the use of antibiotics, improving growth rates and increasing feed utilization. Ruminant nutritionists want feed additives that bypass the rumen and deliver to the small intestine. Manufacturers of gut health products seek stable probiotics and enzymes with extended shelf life.
The Problems with Older Techniques
The simple fact is, older encapsulation techniques are not designed to support the functional attributes that today’s food and feed industry demands. Spray drying and chilling provide low levels of actives to begin with; and, the heat and high velocity air used in fluidized beds can negatively impact overall stability of oxygen-sensitive substances like probiotics, iron compounds and vitamin C. What’s more, these same older-school technologies are also prone to developing microscopic fissures in the coated particles that can affect the integrity of the encapsulate and compromise overall product effectiveness.
It was against this backdrop that a tortilla manufacturer recently evaluated two 85% Fumaric Acid solutions (with 15% coating)—one from a competitor, and one from Maxx. The competitor’s product delivered a 35-day shelf life, while ours was still fresh after 69 days. The main reason for the large difference? The pH of the competitor’s product started at 5.8 and netted out at 5.34, versus an initial pH of 5.8 and final value of 5.6 with ours. As it turns out, the competitor’s product ruptured prematurely and caused sudden shifts in pH, while Maxx ‘s 85% Fumaric Acid solution slowly brought the pH down to deliver a longer-than-expected shelf life.
For this reason, the integrity of the finished microencapsulate must be a key driver when evaluating microencapsulation technologies.
The Tremendous Potential of Maxx Technology
Whereas older microencapsulation processes typically deliver 50% actives, Maxx’s technology allows for payloads of 70% and higher—a full 40% improvement, at the very least.
You see, modern microencapsulation techniques are more robust, and coatings are more resilient, to satisfy the rigors of current industralized applications. This means you can now use smaller amounts of a coated microencapsulated actives to achieve a desired functionality.
What if you could cost effectively deliver nutrients to the hindgut to promote better overall gut health? What if you could produce a dinner roll with better texture and longer shelf life that has the same properties in Milwaukee, Wisconisn as it does in Bueno Aires, Argentina? Maxx’s advancements in microencapsulation technology enable you to manufacture products for high intensity industralized applications—and imagine a host of new possibilities.