University of Waterloo Researchers Announce Sustainable Encapsulation Technology

Published on: 
In the Lab eNewsletter, Pharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletter, July 2023, Volume 18, Issue 7

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a liquid-liquid encapsulation system for use in sustainable encapsulation processes.

The University of Waterloo announced a new encapsulation technology developed by its research department on June 19, 2023. According to the university’s press release, the method is designed for simple, low-cost, and accurate encapsulation of core materials, including pure liquid or liquid containing suspended functional ingredients.

According to the release, the process is called the liquid-liquid encapsulation system. The system introduces a drop of core material through a nozzle, which impacts on a host bath containing a floating shell layer on the surface. When a complex interaction of the core material with the shell layer occurs, it created a stable encapsulation which protects the core material and safeguards it from an aggressive environment; this is intended to enable a timely release of the cargo material to a targeted area.

The current prototype has four injection nozzles designed to deliver up to 200,000 encapsulated cargo in an hour. The research team is currently working with partners and product manufacturers in the Netherlands to integrate the curing stage with the prototype to enable individual capsules extraction of the encapsulated cargo on demand.

“The key to this technology is that everything is in liquid state – the core, the shell, and finally submerged inside a liquid bath. This provides extraordinary flexibility in terms of core shell combinations. At least 15 of these types of combinations have already been demonstrated,” said Sushanta Mitra, executive director, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and professor of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo, in the release. "It is ultrafast with each encapsulation taking only 50 milliseconds. This technology is at least 5000 times less energy intensive and it avoids the introduction of any microplastics in the encapsulation process.”


“In the end we strive toward being a sustainable and innovative encapsulation entity that meets the UN sustainable development goals,” said Mitra.

Source: University of Waterloo