Microencapsulation is a process in which active substances are coated by extremely small capsules. It is a new technology that has been used in the cosmetics industry as well as in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and food industries, being used in flavors, acids, oils, vitamins, microorganisms, among others. The success of this technology is due to the correct choice of the wall material, the core release form and the encapsulation method.
In the late 1930s Barry Green, a research chemist at the National Cash Register Company in Dayton, began investigating how the concept of microencapsulation might have potential application in copying documents. If specks of dye could be covered with a special fusible coating, forming a microcapsule, the use of ink could prove much less messy and more efficient. Scientists had long been intrigued by the possibilities of controlling the release of an active ingredient by encapsulating it. Theoretically, microencapsulation was fairly straightforward; practically, getting the conditions right had proved exceedingly difficult. Green’s breakthrough would become the heart of the technology by which copiers and printers produce documents. Today microencapsulation is central to many other technologies, including time-released pesticides and pharmaceuticals.