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Actiwhey based microencapsulation solution for sustainable food manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ACTICAPS (Actiwhey based microencapsulation solution for sustainable food manufacturing)

Período documentado: 2016-10-01 hasta 2018-03-31

Overuse of antibiotics in meat production causes human antimicrobial resistance, diseases and gut-related disorders, leading to 1.2m life-threatening hospital infections and 19,000 deaths from MRSA-bacteria each year. The best solution is sustainable antibiotic-free food production, improved food safety and nutrition value, wider use of probiotics and increased functional foods production.

Companies like Bon Appétit, Tyson Foods, Smithfield, McDonald's, etc. are voluntarily banning antibiotics treated food products. To meet this trend and EU regulations, new cost-effective technologies for processing delicate substances and active ingredients are needed in EU.

Vegan and other plant-based diets have created a strong market need for advanced food technologies - e.g. microencapsulation that follows their requirements. So far most capsules for food supplements, etc. are not vegan and thus do not address that growing market.

Uniq Bioresearch has developed and patented ACTIWHEY® microencapsulation technology that addresses these challenges and market trends and provides market-leading nutritional efficiency; extended shelf-life, increased food safety and countless new opportunities for food, feed and nutraceuticals manufacturers.

ACTICAPS project achieved to 1) reduce the microencapsulation costs; 2) extend the encapsulation opportunities in food, feed and nutraceuticals market, 3) achieve market-leading fill-coating ratio; 4) improve controlled release and other key advantages; 5) create a scale-up package, incl. process planning strategy, production manuals and licensing concept; 6) validate the innovation in different market segments for fast market uptake.
The first period of the project has concentrated on finalizing the laboratory development, planning the pilot production and starting widespread commercialization among selected partners and clients.

By the project mid-term, we had completed laboratory work with test batches to achieve the best fill-coating ratio, stable and strong coating and easy optimization of controlled release. We had tested the market-leading microencapsulation solution in small pilot scale to ensure the validity of the technology in bigger scale production. Also, we have improved the whey protein activation process for large-scale production.

In the second half of the project, the pilot line designs were put to practice when we piloted our technology in 2 production units in Finland and The Netherlands. Based on these pilots and multiple smaller test batches that we produced for our clients, we have created replicable licensing concepts and production set-up manuals.

We also tested, validated and patented a new technology: Microencapsulation with activated plant protein (soy and pea protein). Initiative for this came from our customers who want to offer vegan products. During the project, we got to test and plan different business models for commercializing our unique solution portfolio. While we will continue to serve our smaller clients with specialized Actiwhey and microencapsulation services, our focus will be set on technology licensing to bigger clients.

Besides forming partnerships for pilots with potential clients, we have disseminated our technology and company in several events and through new marketing materials e.g. at Vitafoods Europe Exhibition in May 2016 and May 2017 in Geneva and at MIHAS Trade Fare in April 2017 we introduced our microencapsulation technology to more than 50 selected companies.

As a result of the ACTICAPS project, we have submitted one patent application ( METHOD FOR MODIFICATION OF WHEY AND PLANT PROTEINS AND USE OF MODIFIED PROTEINS IN MICROENCAPSULATION AND FILMS) and have generated a strong client portfolio and an active sales funnel of pending cooperation projects from EU and abroad.
The ACTICAPS project has taken our technology from lab-scale to validated medium-scale. We have tested our technology in different plants, substances, end-products, etc. This has put us in a favorable position to move on to even bigger clients with a strong project portfolio and market-proven results of our solution.

The project has achieved the following impacts:
• Achieved up to 65% fill-coating ratio of the microcapsules (2-times better compared to competitors)
• Validated microencapsulation process for a) powder-form substances (tested with Reishi extract); b) living organisms (tested with anaerobic probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium animals subsp. lactis BB-12) and c) oils (tested with rapeseed oil). Fulfilling vegan requirements.
• Validated the scalability of our technology, created detailed technology set-up and implementation plans together with draft licensing concept that enable fast scale-up of the technology globally

Our Actiwhey, ActiPea and ActiSoy microencapsules:
• enable feed and food companies to produce natural and safe products that lead to healthier food
• include 3-times more antioxidants, which will improve users health, and add extra functionalities to commercial products like controlled substance release through a multi-wall capsule
• enable sustainable production by utilization of dairy industry side-products/wastes and 20-30% reduced need for heat and energy for encapsulation
• extend shelf-life of encapsulated products by better preservation of sensitive oils, probiotics and other substances, leading to improved food safety, reduced food taints and off-flavors
• improve feed, food and nutraceuticals industry products by added functionalities and health-promoting ingredients and improved taste, smell and texture of the products
• offer a healthy way to protect ingredients with activated vegetable proteins or whey protein (suitable for different ingredients and markets e.g. vegan market)