Afriplex has upgraded and expanded its spray drying facility, allowing for greater versatility in its product and service offerings.  A new production unit was custom-designed and manufactured to include features that will facilitate the production of heat-sensitive and volatile components, thereby meeting the technical requirements of Afriplex’s specialized product offering.  This expansion will not only strengthen the company’s capabilities in producing standardized ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry, but also significantly increase the existing production capacity. 
Spray drying has a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.  It is a convenient method to produce excipients and may be applied to improve the compressibility of drugs and to perform microencapsulation, granulation, and complex formation. In addition, the technology is successfully used   for   the   modification   of   biopharmaceutical   properties   and   the formulation of dry powder aerosols and heat sensitive materials.  By co-precipitating (active pharmaceutical ingredients) API with a polymer in a stable amorphous solid dispersion, spray-drying improves dissolution rates and enhances the bioavailability of poorly soluble compounds.

Antioxidants by its very nature, oxidizes readily in the presence of oxygen and heat.  Polyphenol-rich botanical extracts are typically adversely affected by heat processes and ultimately oxidation, resulting in an inferior product.  During spray drying, processing temperatures are usually elevated, creating an environment for product degradation.  In addition to oxidation, volatile components present may also be compromised during processing.

The above may be addressed by creating a liposomal mixture prior to spray drying; providing protection during spray drying as well as increasing the bioavailability of active ingredients being ingested. The technique may be described as a process where the active component is encapsulated by a lipophilic agent; creating a layer around the compound prior to spray drying.  This technique, also referred to as microencapsulation, results in the improvement of chemical stability and protection of antioxidant integrity.  
The diagram above illustrates how the active components are protected within a multi-shell inner matrix and a protective outer shell surrounding it;  creating protection from oxidation and degradation.  The latter is clearly visible in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) image on the right.

The advantages of microencapsulated ingredients may be summarized as follows:

1.    Ensuring the integrity of an active compound
2.    Ease of handling and storage
3.    Increased stability, bioavailability, and shelf-life
This technology may also be applied in the food industry e.g., using a powder flavour instead of a liquid flavour.  Applications where the flavour is required to be processed into a pre-mix with other powdered raw materials, such as sugar, salt, flour, or stabilizers may serve as example.  In addition, the finished product itself can be the reason for using a dry flavour mix, especially in applications where convenience plays a role, such as:Instant powder mixtures for desserts and beverages Baking mixes Dry soups Fortifying or enriching powders adding value to powder supplement applications, e.g., health shakes.
In striving to tailor its services and products to clients’ needs, while maintaining quality and cost effectiveness, liposomal ingredients is a welcomed addition to Afriplex’s capabilities.
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