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Encapsulation_an Essential Technology for Food Applications.

Encapsulation_an Essential Technology for Food Applications.



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Published by: mariapia_2010 on Feb 26, 2009
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Encapsulation:- an essential technology for functional foodapplications
 By Denis Poncelet, ENITIAA, UMR CNRS 6144, 44322 Nantes cedex,France
Since the last world war more than 60 years ago, we assisted in arevolution on the improvement of production methods leading to anabundance of food in our occidental countries unknown to mankind before.Our fridge is full! This abundance is also associated with a diversificationof the foodstuffs. Some products formerly considered as "luxury" find theirplace in our quasi daily food (salmon, duck fillet …); fruits and vegetablesreach us from all over the world.The abundance has driven people to request more from the food they eatover and above energy supply; for example, to provide safety, health, andwhy not--- fun.
‘Food mutation’
However, there is another equally important revolution in our society.From traditional and familial "cuisine", we have moved to industrialcooking, to consume as catering (fast food) or to bring back home.Recomposed powders, mixes, storage period extension, and the need forinnovation have fundamentally modified the handling foodstuffs. It issimpler and less costly for industry to transport, store and rehydrate driedpowders than to transport hydrated food products. Unfortunately,dehydratation often has negative effects on the texture, flavour andsolubility of the rehydrated food. It is frequently necessary to supply foodpowders with their inherent aromas, vitamins, and other properties. Inthis context and application
has become a highlyimportant tool for food process engineers. Protection during storage or
processing, released at the right time and place (e.g. during cooking), theencapsulated additive will provide all its potential to the food.
Vitamin A
Vitamin is deficient in Asian foods and has to be supplied. The initialproposal was to incorporate vitamin A into glutamate, a taste enhancerused in these countries. However, Vitamin A is yellow and turns brown onoxidation while glutamate salt must be white to be appreciated bycustomers. Coating Place (USA) has developed a process for coatingparticles of vitamin A, colorizing them in white, while offering protectionagainst oxygen, humidity and light.
Pro- and prebiotics
Traditional foods contain many different bacteria beneficial for health.However, the pasteurization and long-term storage leads to food with areduced concentration of these bacteria. It was then proposed tosupplement food with selected health-support bacteria, i.e. probiotics.However, the most efficient ones are generally fragile cells and needprotection, for example, by microencapsulation. In the frame of aEuropean project (MEPPHAC), we have demonstrated that coatingprobiotics can enhance their survival by a factor 20 during warm pelletextrusion. Microencapsulation allows the mixing of probiotics withmaterials promoting their growth and attachment in the intestine (i.e.prebiotics). It is then possible to develop optimum cocktails of probioticsand prebiotics in a single formulation called synbiotics.
Spices and herbs
Aromas, spices and herbs constitute the core of pleasure-linked cuisineand eating. However, they also represent the first natural functional foods.They interact with the other food ingredients during storage, freezing, andpre-cooking resulting, sometimes, in off flavours and loss of healthpotential properties. Microencapsulation protects them during these stages
while releasing them, for example, during cooking. Microencapsulationoffers, therefore, a unique approach for maintaining optimum quality andnutritive status in a range of foodstuffs.
New properties and functions
Encapsulation is a performing tool that confers new properties to normalmaterials. Obtaining a stable functional ingredient is inadequate if itcannot be easily integrated in the food.Many vitamins, plant extracts and unsaturated acids are hydrophobic anddispersing them in hydrophilic food powders is a real challenge. Inaddition to protecting them, microencapsulation allows their conversion tosuitable and managable powders. Similary, by encapsulation, brown sugarcan be converted to a free flowing powder, suspended with hydrophobicvitamins in juice, or dispersed in cocoa or in cold milk.Unsaturated fatty acids are recognized as beneficial for health. However,they sometimes have an unpleasant taste, which can becomeunacceptable when they are oxidized. Encapsulation largely overcomesthis problem by taste masking. Moreover, incorporating flavours in thecoating helps to make the functional food pleasant to consume. This isapplication is used extensively in pet food supply as animals will refuseoff-flavored ingredients.Functional food ingredients may be incorporated into food or may beconsumed independently as pills or fine powder. This does not require aprescription from a doctor. However, consumers must be advised to limittheir daily dose. This can be assisted by coating particles with a colouringmaterial thus differentiating the nutraceutics from a drug or a food.Listeria represents a high risk in processed meat. We have developed anencapsulation system consisting in a core containing two substrates

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