Applications

Our technology produces micro-capsules of different sizes depending upon the source of the pollen. Larger particles are able to contain more active ingredient, but may be less desirable for other reasons e.g. those above 30 microns may give a rough texture, whilst 10 micron or smaller may be required for the particles to be less visible in a transparent medium or to reach specific areas of the lung (see pharmaceutical industry).

The fact that pollen shells are not degraded by acids or alkalis or temperatures below 250 oC means that they can withstand very high pressures, most processes and even conditions within the human gut. Enzymes in the blood however, are thought to destroy the shell and release its contents.

The porous nature of the shell means that its liquid contents can be released gradually by rubbing with a finger or thumb, making the encapsulated powder useful for the cosmetics industry. The pores however will also allow any surrounding liquid to come into contact with the shell’s contents. It is possible to use a co-encapsulation process to block up the pores or coat the active ingredient to delay release, for example to provide protection in the upper gut, but release lower down. This property is important for the food and drink and pharmaceutical industries.

Because the micro-capsules are in the mouth for a short time, the saliva cannot remove the active ingredients. This means that the pollen shell can act as an effective taste masking method.

Anti-
oxidant
Non-
toxic
Resistant to acid, alkali, heat High loading Protection against UV & air oxidation Controlled Release
Yeast
Gelatine
Starch
Sporopollenin

This table compares the Sporomex technology with other methods of encapsulation. Probably the biggest advantage for most applications is the shells anti-oxidant properties. This varies according to the type of pollen and its extraction and the company has knowledge of how to optimise this for many applications. Similarly the colour can be varied according to use by being made whiter or coloured with appropriate dyes.

The ability of the pollen shells to protect and transport chemicals means that they can also be used to enhance medical imaging. Although the shells themselves are “invisible” to ultrasound or MRI their filling material can greatly increase the contrast of the area being investigated. Empty shells contain air, which can be used with ultrasound, whilst micro-encapsulated gadolinium has been investigated for MRI.

 

 

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Overview

Micro-encapsulation for the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and personal care industries