Silica micro-nanocapsules for controllable sustained release of active ingredients, including delicate biologics.

Designed peptide or protein surfactants are used typically to generate an oil in water nanoemulsion.  The surfactant also incorporates a mineralising peptide sequence.  In the presence of a silica source, this mineralising component facilitates the formation of a silica shell to encapsulate the nanodroplet containing the active ingredient. The nanometer thickness of the silicate shell can be regulated which, in turn, allows the rate of active ingredient release to be controlled if required.  This encapsulation technology has been applied to coating microbes and could be used to protect them from processing or storage conditions.

It is also possible to control the surface chemistry and texture – there is scope to initiate release in response to pH.

Initial cost analyses suggest that this encapsulation approach will be low cost.

Potential applications

  • Agriculture, veterinary, pest control, functional packaging
  • Sustained or triggered release of active ingredients, including small molecules and bioactives
  • Encapsulation of delicate actives (eg microbes) to provide temporary protection prior to release.

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