Generally, we divide capsules into hard capsules and soft capsules (pills). Hard capsules are made up of a certain amount of drugs and appropriate auxiliary materials (which may or may not be added) into uniform powders or granules, filled in hollow Made of hard capsules. Soft capsule is a kind of capsule made by processing and sealing liquid raw material or liquid fruit mixture in a soft capsule. At present, the main material of the two is gelatin. Gelatin is mainly made of animal bones, skins and other raw materials and belongs to animal-derived capsules. On the one hand, for halal or vegetarianism, the application of animal source capsules is limited. On the other hand, the supervision of food accessories has also become stricter and the cost has gradually increased. Plant capsules have become a development trend. At present, the annual growth rate of plant capsules in the world is 25%.
According to different sources of plants, plant capsules are mainly of the following types:
01 starch capsules
The starch plant capsule is a new type of capsule that uses natural plant starch as the main raw material and does not use animal-derived ingredients. After starch plants are collected, washed, pressed and purified, plant starch is obtained. The main plant sources are cassava, corn and potatoes. Cassava starch is mainly amylopectin, its water content is similar to gelatin, and has good water resistance and oxygen barrier rate. It can provide good protection for powder products and liquid products, and the effect is like gelatin.
02 Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose Capsules
This is a plant-derived capsule. The moisture content of the hollow capsule is 4-6%, with special requirements up to 3%, low moisture content, not easy to be brittle, good toughness, good chemical stability, and can ensure that the effective ingredients of the content are stored Does not decrease in time. The main plant sources are cotton and bark. The vegetarian capsule has unique antacid polymer properties and can resist the decomposition of stomach acid. When it leaves the acidic environment and reaches the intestinal environment with a pH of 5.8 for 20 minutes, it begins to decompose. Therefore, it is more suitable for carrying probiotics, enzymes and many other sports nutrients.
In 1997, Pfizer Inc. was the first to launch hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose hollow capsules Vcaps in the US market.
03 seaweed gum
There are mainly types of sodium alginate, carrageenan, pullulan and other polysaccharides. Among them, sodium alginate is a polysaccharide carbohydrate extracted from kelp or horsetail of brown algae, which is a derivative of alginic acid; carrageenan is a polysaccharide extracted from marine red algae; pullulan polysaccharide is α-1 The 6-glycosidic bond combined with maltose constitutes a homopolymer polysaccharide-based polymer polysaccharide. These polysaccharide-derived capsules have a high surface finish and have good gel properties and compounding properties. They can be used alone as a soft capsule shell material, or can be compounded with starch or other edible gums to prepare soft capsules. It is currently recognized as a new material for ideal plant soft capsules. Carrageenan extracted from marine red algae is used to replace the gelatin derived from bovine bones and pigskin, compounded with starch and vegetable glycerin, etc., to wrap the effective ingredients. Compared with traditional gelatin soft capsules, the thermal stability of plant soft capsules is more excellent. Even if the temperature exceeds 50 ℃, it can maintain a complete shape, without deformation and sticky pills, reducing the requirements for summer transportation and storage. It has a wide range of applications, not only for traditional nutrition and health products, but also for skin care essence capsules.
Compared with mature animal-derived capsule technology, domestic research on plant capsules is not deep enough and has not been widely recognized by the market. In addition, the cost of plant capsules is still relatively high, so the market share of domestic plant capsules is only about 1%, and there is still much room for improvement. Gelatin capsules are prone to cross-linking reaction with the contents, are sensitive to temperature and humidity, and have low stability. The plant capsule plays a role in strengthening the advantages and avoiding the shortcomings. It can eliminate the use of additives, which helps to further consolidate its appeal to the core consumers of organic food and clean labels, and at the same time attract more consumers in the increasingly aging and nutritional market. ——Especially those consumers looking for vegan products.
Hydroxypropyl starch, pullulan polysaccharides, carrageenan, sodium alginate and other products are all included in the catalog. The support of regulatory approval also facilitates the development and innovation of plant capsules. Maybe for a long time in the future, it is difficult for plant capsules to replace the dominant position of traditional gelatin capsules, but it may form a new situation of court resistance with gelatin capsules.