Workshop Technology Platform Microencapsulation

Environmentally friendly microcapsules made from biopolymers

Press release /

Biopolymers as shells for microcapsules will be the focus of a workshop on November 16, 2023, at the Fraunhofer Conference Center at the Potsdam Science Park. Biodegradable polymers and natural materials ensure manufacturers and users of microcapsules get their products approved under the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Experts from the Fraunhofer Technology Platform Microencapsulation will discuss how to apply natural raw materials to manufacture environmentally friendly microcapsules. The network concentrates current findings and identifies new opportunities for the use of microcapsules.

In the future, new regulations in the European Union will prohibit the sale of products that contain intentionally added conventional microplastics and release them during use. Transitional periods of four to twelve years apply to applications in cosmetics, fertilizers, as well as detergents and cleaning agents. Natural materials and biodegradable polymers are key for products to not be subject to such regulations.

"We are developing biodegradable microcapsules that are functional and cost-effective," emphasizes Dr. Alexandra Latnikova, an expert in microencapsulation at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP. For this, a deep understanding of polymer and particle formation processes is essential Latnikova adds. Microcapsules, for example, efficiently protect active ingredients and allow for targeted release. They thus improve the effectiveness and durability of products. The desired functionality of microcapsules often contradicts the requirements for rapid biodegradability in many applications. Parameters such as availability, stable quality, price, and sustainable sourcing of capsule wall materials also determine the basis for environmentally friendly microcapsules. Developing new materials to meet these requirements is a focus of the scientists at Fraunhofer IAP.

"All these parameters must be met to obtain solutions with high market potential. In recent years, we have seen a great interest in chemically cross-linkable, water-soluble polymers. These polymers save the use of solvents and avoid new investments, as it allows to use existing equipment. Water-soluble cellulose sulfate and aqueous nanocellulose dispersions are good examples," adds Dr. Latnikova.

On November 16, 2023, the Fraunhofer Technology Platform Microencapsulation will present new developments in microencapsulation with natural and biodegradable materials and invite participants to discuss possible solutions in an open forum. The event will take place at the Fraunhofer Conference Center in the Potsdam Science Park from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.

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Fraunhofer Technology Platform Microencapsulation

The technology platform was established in 2009 and is the only network addressing this topic in the German-speaking area. It concentrates and communicates knowledge about microencapsulation and particle applications, and identifies new ways to using them. Participants receive regular information on the latest developments, publications, and patents in the fields of microencapsulation and particle applications. Furthermore, a workshop is organized on selected topics every two years.

to the Fraunhofer Technology Platform Microencapsulation



Microencapsulation is a widely used technology that allows for targeted release of active ingredients. In detergents and cleaning agents, microcapsules protect sensitive ingredients until they are released in a controlled manner during the washing and cleaning process. In cosmetic products, they provide long-lasting effects, among other things. In plant protection and fertilizers, microcapsules prevent overdosing and thus help reduce environmental pollution. Research in the field of microencapsulation at Fraunhofer IAP is currently focused on alternatives to perfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), microcapsules with specific barrier properties, and microcapsules with biodegradable shell materials.


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