Packing food with nutrients, vitamins and other supplements to improve our health sounds like a simple enough idea, but protecting them as they pass through the digestive system isn’t all that easy. While various methods have been employed to encase compounds for more effective delivery, a new technique is showing great promise as a means of keeping them intact. Scientists claim that coating the ingredients in nanofibers created through a process called electrospinning can provide a better safeguard, and could lead to delivery of improved health supplements.
Electrospinning is a technique we have seen in various forms across a number of areas of scientific research. It involves drawing a fluid through an electric field which serves to break the liquid down into microscopic fibers, typically on the micro- or nanoscale. It has been used in the development of dissolving tampons designed to protect against HIV, antibacterial materials and a potential replacement for scar tissue in the heart.
Its promise in the food industry stems from the fact that it can be carried out at room temperature using wet materials, and doesn’t require overly complex chemistry. According to scientists from England’s University of Lincoln, this gives it an advantage over existing methods of encapsulating supplements, which can damage the structure and the bacteria, as it better caters to the sensitivity of the materials.