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Micro- and Nanoencapsulation

The encapsulation of active substances (drugs, vaccines, fragrances, dyes, etc.) within micro- and nanometer-sized capsules is attracting much attention in the chemistry, materials, biological, medicine, pharmacology and nanotechnology communities because of their wide range of potential applications in drug delivery, medical diagnostics, catalysis, cosmetics, intelligent textiles, functional foods, construction, etc.

Thus, what is a micro- or nanocapsule?

A micro- or nanocapsule is shortly defined as a small portion of an active substance that is surrounded by an encapsulating agent with dimensions in the micro- or nanometer regime, thus isolating this substance from the external medium.

Micro- and Nanoencapsulation

But, do we need to encapsulate substances?

In short, yes. The use of encapsulation technologies offer an impressive number of advantages and new properties: (i) unstable materials (e.g. pure chemical substances, viruses, etc.) can be protected from the environment and stabilized or separated from other incompatible components; (ii) the properties of encapsulated materials can also be modified (e.g. taste masking, odor masking, etc.); (iii) the industrial processes can be improved or facilitated (e.g. transformation of liquids into solids for easier handling, reduction of toxicity during manipulation, etc.); and (iv) the release of encapsulated active materials can be modified, providing sustained release (maintaining the right concentration), long lasting (and therefore improving effects), target release (improving adhesion, penetration, or recognition of tissues and cells), or triggered release (mainly by environmental changes in pH, temperature, etc.). Encapsulation and release modification also reduces doses, and therefore, potential toxicity of the encapsulated substances, such as drugs.

And, which are the technologies we can use for encapsulating substances?

There are three major families of technologies that able the encapsulation of active substances into micro- and nanometer-sized capsules: (i) the chemical encapsulation methods, which include those that involve a chemical reaction, like for instance, organic polymerization (in situ, interfacial, etc.) or sol-gel methods; (ii) the physicochemical methods, which include simple and complex coacervation, molecular inclusion complexes (e.g. cyclodextrines), liposomes and related structures, and ionic or thermal gelation, among others; and (iii) the physicomechanical methods, which are those based in equipments, such as fluid bed coaters or spray dryers.

Micro- and Nanoencapsulation

With this enormous potentiality, what NANOUP offers?

NANOUP offers all our expertise in micro- and nanoencapsulation technologies as well as all our facilities and equipment in order to help private companies and other research institutions to develop novel encapsulation-related products. Our compromise involves helping design new products, developing precise technological processes for their fabrication (including their characterization, coatings, final formulations, etc.) in our labs, and implementing (scale up) all developed encapsulation technologies for their large-scale fabrication. This approach has already allowed us to establish different collaborations with companies of different areas, transferring them our know-how and proprietary technology.

Micro- and Nanoencapsulation

Actually, NANOUP’s know-how covers an extensive number of micro- and nanoencapsulation technologies, including:

(i) Liposome Fabrication. Multilaminar Vesicles obtained by rehydration of lipids or by coacervation of lecithine solution, and downsized to Single Laminar Vesicles (eg. by extrution of liposome suspensions).

(ii) Interfacial Polymerizations: used for the fabrication of organic polymeric capsules (e.g. polyamide capsules, etc.).

(iii) Simple and Complex Coaecervations: used for the synthesis of reversible supramolecular organic encapsulation (e.g. gelatine-acacia or gelatine-carboxymethylcellulose coacervates)

(iv) In-situ Polymerizations: used for the fabrication of organic polymeric capsules (e.g. melamine-formaldehyde capsules, melamine-urea capsules, etc.).

(v) Radical Polymerizations: used for the fabrication of organic polymeric capsules (e.g. polystyrene spheres, etc.).

(vi) Sol-gel Processes: for the production of silica coated active materials.

(vii) Coordinative Polymerizations (own Patented Technology): used for the synthesis of metal-organic capsules (e.g. Zn-Bix spheres, etc.).

With all our expertise and continuous exploration for new micro- and nanoencapsulation technologies, NANOUP group encourages you to contact us for FUTURE COLLABORATIONS.