Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get enough pollen?

Common varieties from such as Chlorella vulgaris, pine or Lycopodium clavatum are available in unlimited amounts as they are currently widely used for a variety of purposes. Some others such as cereal rye (Secale cereal) are already grown in hundreds of tons per year.

What does pollen cost?

This obviously depends upon the amount and type. Chlorella vulgaris can be purchased in kilo gram quantities from about $5 per kilo and Lycopodium clavatum from 18-20$ but for small amounts of other common pollens you may have to pay several times this amount. Larger quantities are obviously cheaper.

Is it safe?

Pollens are already eaten in large amounts especially in Asia. We only use the exine shell, which has been shown to be protein free by the Bradford method and therefore non-allergenic. Toxicity tests have provided no adverse reaction, whilst human and animal studies have shown that the exine shells pass through the body unchanged.

Is the processing difficult or expensive?

The pollen is treated in a standard reaction vessel using commonly used food treatment materials, filtered and dried. Filling requires a reaction vessel. In some cases vacuum may be required when filling the shells with certain active ingredients.

Can I micro-encapsulate any active ingredient?

To date we have not found any materials that we have not been able to microencapsulate and we have successfully encapsulated amongst other things - fats, vitamins, enzymes, flavours, hormones and several pharmaceutical drugs of different polarities and molecular masses.

What is the scale of your technology?

Several international companies are working on prototype commercial samples under collaborative agreements. One company has taken products to market that incorporate Sporomex microcapsule technology. Sporomex itself is purely a R&D / licensing company operating on a laboratory scale.

What is special about Sporomex technology?

The pollen particles offer a wide range of advantages over traditional microencapsulating materials:

  • Single size particles
    Chosen according to pollen species within the range 5? - 80? or broader using special pollens. All pollen exines from the same species have the same size.
  • High loading levels
    Normally at least 1:1 (active ingredient : pollen shell) but can be 4:1 or even higher.
  • Controlled release
    The active ingredient presses out over a period of time for cosmetic applications, otherwise it is possible using a co-encapsulant for release to be triggered (within or outside of the human body) by environmental factors such as pH or temperature.
  • Stable particles
    The pollen exine shells will withstand strong alkalis or acids and temperatures of at least 250 °C. They remain unaltered whilst passing through the gastro-intestinal system.
  • Provides anti-oxidant protection
    The shell provides some protection against UV light as well as acting as a natural anti-oxidant itself. By sealing the pores in the exine shell, it is also possible to keep out oxygen.
  • Available in a wide range of colours
    Important for some cosmetic and food / beverage uses.
  • Enhanced delivery of some fats
    In oral human trials more than ten times the amount of EPA was found in the blood following microencapsulation in exine shells compared with the same amount of non encapsulated omega 3 being taken as a liquid.
  • Taste masking
    Please see our publication.

Is this technology protected?

There are 5 patent families with granted patents in a wide range of countries (see here for patent coverage).

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