Submitted to: Journal of Food Processing and Preservation Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2011
Publication Date: 3/27/2012
Citation: Onwulata, C.I. 2012. Microencapsulation and functional bioactive foods. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation Research. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-4549.2012.00680.x.
Technical Abstract: Food, the essential unit of human nutrition has been both wholesome and safe through human history ensuring the continuity of the human race. Functionalized foods are the rediscovery of the need to provide all nutrients through foods without adulteration. The functional components of foods include all the constituents from the fibrous matrix structure to its mineral components. The biological construct, the structure and components, are only organic packages for the nutrients. In their active forms, the organic structures become the packaging units and carriers of nutrients intended for targeted delivery by nature, providing protection for the encapsulated active materials. This packaging and delivery role is mimicked in the microencapsulation process. One complex problem juxtaposes encapsulation effectiveness against accessibility and bioavailability of the entrapped nutrients; others include providing nutrients that improve health and well-being instead of drugs, and the daily use of the 'whole' foods including the 'active' components only to prevent future health problems. Presently, new foods and functions are being delivered through new technologies such as functional hydrogels, nanoemulsions, and nanoparticles. Future foods such as nutraceuticals and pharmafoods may be delivered in forms that control the amounts of bioactives released at targeted organs. Nutrients may be delivered through foods tailored to individual genetic makeup (nutrigenomics), for an individual‘s metabolic needs, related to a specific element, metabolomics.