Innovation in every part of the production process


At Delacon, innovation does not stop after the production of high level phytogenic feed additives. We see it as our duty to ensure a controlled stimulation of physiological processes in order to provide best support of intestinal digestion: not alone via a sophisticated formulation of efficient active substances, but also by establishing a powerful framework for our products.


Therefore, our Research and Development Team ensures a continuous evaluation of state-of-the-art technologies to let patented methods slip into our products. The microencapsulation process is no exception.

Overview of patente microencapsulation technology

© Delacon: Encapsulation in animal feed


What does "Microencapsulation" mean and what is it needed for?


Microencapsulation is a technique applied in many fields such as chemistry, pharmacy or biotechnology. Moreover, it is a common procedure in cosmetics and in the feed and food industry, to mention just few fields of application.

The objective of microencapsulation is to immobilize and isolate a target substance, either to protect this substance from oxidation or any other degradation as well as to control the time of its release and, thus, to allow a targeted delivery of the respective substance. The result of microencapsulation techniques are small spherical particles of only a few microns in size. The so-called microcapsules contain the target substance embedded in a continuous coat made of a different material. The external coat exists not necessarily of a membrane or a distinct shell, but also a dispersion of the target substance in a solid matrix is a possibility to successfully envelope one material by another.

View on microcapsules using electron microscope

© Delacon: Breakdown of microcapsules in the small intestine (in-vitro test). ME oil in digestive juices, t0


Microencapsulation in the Feed industry


Delacon’s phytogenic feed additives mainly consist of essential oils, saponins, pungent and bitter substances. Especially essential oils are highly volatile substances, which is familiar to everyone who uses their aromatizing effects in daily kitchen or to improve the climate of your living room. 

When applying phytogenic feed additives to animal nutrition it is crucial that these volatile substances do not diffuse before being administered during storage, but are released into the gastro-intestinal tract of the animals. The process of encapsulation in animal feed allows to control the time of release of the actives into the gastro intestinal tract.



Benefits of microencapsulation

  • Protection of volatile substances from untimely evaporation and prolongation of storage time

  • Protection of active substances against oxidation and during feed processing

  • Control of release of active substances in the gastro-intestinal tract of target animals

  • Improvement of feed acceptence by masking of extraordinary strong flavours


Microencapsulated feed additives are better protected against external influences occurring within the feed manufacturing processes, such as mixing and pelleting etc. Steam and heat would accelerate the evaporation losses dramatically. Here, encapsulation can prevent losses of volatile and heat sensitive substances. Not less important than the protection during feed processing is the stabilization of active substances during feed storage. Active plant substances are protected against oxidation and unintended reactions with air even at room temperature. Microencapsulation improves therefore the storage quality of feed additives.


Volatile plant substances may lead to reduced feed intake when the flavor is not liked by the animal. This is especially important for sensitive animals such as piglets and calves. Microencapsulation is masking flavors and thus, improving the acceptance of feed containing plant actives of strong smell and taste.


Fine Tuning by formulation: Which material to choose ...


Depending on the intended release curve, different coating materials are used for the encapsulation. Furthermore, different encapsulation techniques may be combined. For fast release of the target substance, for instance, a mixture of the matrix and active substances can be applied. In some cases, a continuous and long-lasting release of the target substance is needed and thus shell-coated particles, a double coating or combination of matrix and shell encapsulation will be drawn up.


Choosing different materials or using a combination of different materials gives a further opportunity to influence the time of release to be aligned with a specific application, i.e. a starch core surrounded by a fat or wax shell shows different characteristics than a fat core surrounded by a starch shell.

View on microcapsules using electron microscope

© Delacon: Beginning breakdown of the capsule-matrix. ME oil in digestive juices, t0+30min


Different methods of microencapsulation


According to the characteristics of the target substance and according to the field of application there are different physical and chemical procedures providing different advantages and disadvantages.

Just to mention a few of them: One of the oldest industrial microencapsulation techniques is referred as “pan coating”, where small particles are tumbled in a pan or other device while the coating material is applied slowly. Another method used for encapsulating essential oils is to mix them homogenously in hydrated fatty acids and trap these essential oils when cooling down the emulsion. Alternatively, the active substance can be microencapsulated by a method called “spray drying”, when suspended in a polymer solution and sprayed onto a carrier via fluidized bed procedure. Chemical methods for microencapsulation are based mainly on polymerization or poly-condensation procedures.

View on microcapsules using electron microscope

© Delacon: Full breakdown of capsule-matrix. ME oil in digestive juices, t0+60min




Microencapsulation is an important process to protect active plant substances from unfavorable and degrading influences. The encapsulation process allows a controlled and targeted time of release and thus is a crucial tool when administering phytogenic feed additives.

With respect to the production of phytogenic feed additives, the choice of the proper encapsulation techniques is crucial: on one hand, an inadequate encapsulation in animal feed does not prevent active substances from evaporation or degradation, but on the other hand, active substances won’t be released in the gastro-intestinal tract when encapsulated too effectively.

This site uses cookies. Cookies are used for user guidance and web analytics and help to make this website better and more user-friendly.
If you do not want a recording, you can disable it under Legal notice & privacy statement