The main interest of volatiles encapsulation is the possibility to extend the biological effect of the compounds. For essential oils, we want to prolong the activity by lowering the evaporation of the volatile compounds. During the last 10 years, there are not many publications on this topic in the scientific literature but there are quite a number of patents that describe the various ways of prolonging the effect of volatiles (Porzio, 2008; Sair and Sair, 1980a; Sair, 1980b; Zasypkin and Porzio, 2004; Fulger and Popplewell, 1997, 1998; Mclver, 2005). One reason for this fact is that the prolonging of the effect of volatile compounds is regarded as so close to practical applications and therefore the area of industrial research where the results will be bonded in patent applications. However, there are signs that this idea is changing. In order to lower the volatility, thus prolonging the effect of essential oils and terpenes, we have to look into another area of scientific research. In the field of drug delivery, many techniques have been studied for the controlled delivery of active molecules. The reasons for controlled release (encapsulation of volatiles) may be the following:
Changing the impact of fragrance and flavors
Adding fragrance to textiles
Stabilizing specific compounds
Tailoring the fragrance to the intended use of a product
Lowering the volatility and thereby prolonging the shelf life of a fragrance product.
The slow or controlled release of volatiles is achieved by:
Solution/dispersion in a polymer matrix Complex formation
Covalent bonding to another molecule or matrix.
For essential oils and lower terpenes, the following techniques can be utilized depending on the volatiles and the intended use of the final product:
Covalent bonding to a matrix
Combination of nanocapsules into larger microcapsules.
Since the making of one of the above-mentioned type of products and techniques will influence the activity toward the human biological membranes in one way or the other. Therefore, the relevant sizes of biological units are listed in Table 17.1 and the average sizes of units produced in consumer products, where volatile compounds are involved are listed in Table 17.2.
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You have probably heard the term Aromatherapy and wondered what exactly that funny word, „aromatherapy‟ actually means. It is the use of plant oils in there most essential form to promote both mental and physical well being. The use of the word aroma implies the process of inhaling the scents from these oils into your lungs for therapeutic benefit.