Protein-Based Delivery Systems
The aim of this chapter is to present and update the existing knowledge on proteins from plant and animal sources as the encapsulation wall material of various ingredients or additives used by the food industry. This chapter also summarizes the materials, their chemical and physical properties, as well as the encapsulation of a specific compound by a suitable technology. Microencapsulation is a technique that involves the incorporation of food ingredients, nutraceuticals, enzymes, cells, or other materials in capsules. It can be used to protect sensitive food ingredients, ensure against nutritional loss, incorporate time-release mechanisms into the formulation, mask or preserve flavors and aromas, and transform liquids into easily handled solid ingredients. A multitude of materials are known which can be used to entrap, or encapsulate solids, liquids, or gases of different types, origins, and properties. Both plant and animal proteins as a vital macronutrient in food possess unique functional properties which allow them to be an ideal material for the encapsulation of bioactive compounds. The versatile functions of proteins are due to their ability to self-associate, dynamic structure, biocompatibility, amphiphilic properties, and biodegradability, awarding it technical-functional properties such as emulsifying, foaming, and gelling agents.