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Ingredient Technology


NIE highlights proven, cost-effective ingredient innovations driving industry growth by revolutionizing finished product potential.

Aloe Advancement

Over the course of his career, Santiago Rodriguez, CEO of Texas-based Lorand Laboratories, helped develop novel materials, and observed a void in the market.

“There are many aloe products in the market, but I realized there was no high acemannan product that was completely soluble,” he said, noting that abundant scientific evidence shows that this family of unique polysaccharides is responsible for most of the biological activities attributed to aloe vera. “Further, the market was lacking one that not only had a full range of molecular weights on the acemannan, but the distribution of molecular weights was such that would result in high immuno-modulatory activity and high bio-availability.” 

To that end, the process of developing BiAloe® began. According to Rodriguez, BiAloe contains a minimum 15 percent total acemannan, but at the same time more than 10 percent immune-modulatory acemannan and more than 10 percent bio-available acemannan.

The industry-exceeding attributes of Lorand Laboratories’ BiAloe ingredient are the result of the organic processing the company incorporates. Rodriguez explained that it all starts at its farms that utilize all-natural, organic techniques and have the best soil selection of volcanic origin rich in micronutrients. “It continues with the harvesting technique, which is done to avoid damage to the leaves or the plant. The leaves are immediately transported to the manufacturing plant, so that they are processed right away to avoid any damage to the delicate biological components of the aloe,” he explained.

At the plant, the leaves are processed under the company’s proprietary technology following strict HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) and organic guidelines. It uses low-heat pasteurization and concentration, and a final step of freeze-drying to ensure the natural components are not going to be damaged.

According to Rodriguez, it took several years to develop the ingredient from conception to its launch at SupplySide West 2009. But in the case of ingredients such as aloe, the process is expected to be slow if it is to be done right. “The first thing that has to happen is to find the best suitable place to have the farms, with the best weather, soil and conditions. Then the farming techniques have to be adjusted in order to produce the best material,” he said. “Finally, the manufacturing has to be tailored to pro-duce the material that was conceptualized originally.

“But the process does not end when an ingredient is introduced to the market,” added Rodriguez. “We are continuously working on making it better, to raise the bar even more, and come up with a better product than the current one.” 

And the proof is in testing. In January 2013 the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease1 published a study where BiAloe was incorporated into a multinutrient complex and given orally to advanced Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients in a Miami nursing home. This nutritional intervention provided the patients with nutrients not commonly consumed in the average diet. Over the course of the one-year study, 46.2 percent of the patients experienced statistically significant cognitive improvement and 23.1 percent had no change according to the researchers using the ADAS Cog Cognition score.

Although the mechanism of action is unclear, the extensive blood work that was done at the beginning and the end of the study is noteworthy, according to Rodriguez. The blood work showed that on average the 26 patients finishing the study had a 377 percent increase in CD14+ cells. Prior research has identified these CD14+ cells as pluripotent adult stem cells that under the right conditions can become new neurons in the brain.

“Of course BiAloe is not a cure for any disease. It is merely a daily use nutritional intervention that might make sense to improve the quality of life of people that are missing some essential elements in their diets,” said Rodriguez.

And due to the company’s technological breakthrough in aloe vera process, BiAloe is three to 10 times more efficacious than other commercially available aloe vera. This means only one-third to one-tenth of the amount needs to be used to achieve better results, which equates to a lower overall cost for the nutriceutical supplement, cosmetic or pharmaceutical product for which the ingredient is suitable.

“I think the nutritional supplement industry benefits tremendously when they supply ingredients that actually work,” he added. “And even more when the suppliers work together with their customers to make sure the amounts of the ingredient being used in consumer products enough for the product to make an effect, to have enough of the nutrients to actually do something.”


1 Lewis JE, et al. The effect of ale polymannose mutinutrient complex on cognitive and immune functioning in Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;33(2):393-406.

Perfecting Powders

According to Mark Savarese, CEO of Oregon-based PowderPure, up until recently anyone wanting to perform dehydration was faced with two choices. First, they could take the more expensive route of freeze-drying, which effectively retains nutrients. Or they could use the less-expensive options of spray drying or drum drying, but that causes the powder to lose nutrients, rendering a lower-quality ingredient.

“Freeze drying was invented in the early 1900s and there hasn’t been anything better since that has been commercialized on a larger scale,” said Savarese. “Our process avoids both compromises, allowing our customers to have the highest-quality powders on the market at a low cost.” 

PowderPure’s proprietary InfiDri technology uses infrared to target water molecules, gently and quickly evaporating moisture from the original puree, juice or extract without disturbing the enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins or minerals of the original material. It is a commercialized process that offers better retention of nutrients than even commercial freezedrying, according to Savarese, noting that it also exceeds freeze-drying in the retention of fresh flavors. “Freeze drying is performed under vacuum for a long period of time and volatile flavors are lost during the exposure to the vacuum,” he said, noting that compared to the hours, even days, required for spray or freeze drying, PowderPure dries fruits and vegetables in mere minutes. “At large scale, our process also offers low costs since it’s inexpensively scalable and extremely energy efficient.” 

In 2011, a study conducted at Washington State University and funded by The Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research compared freeze-dried powders with PowderPure powders. The results were presented at the 2011 Berry Health Symposium and published the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

“The paper compared our process Against freeze drying on three forms of blueberry. We’ve worked with Washington State University to compare our process with freeze drying in retention of vitamin C in strawberry,” said Savarese. “Vitamin C is easily lost during processing and retention is a good indicator of the effectiveness of a dehydration process.” 

PowderPure has performed a number of other internal studies to confirm the nutrient retention of its product. Retention of fresh flavor is very difficult, so Savarese asserts that the fact his company’s powders still have the fresh notes of the fruits or vegetables from which they are made should suggest that everything else is retained.

Retention of nutrients and fresh flavor creates new possibilities for manufacturers because they can simply have a better version of what they’re currently using, but at lower cost. And Savarese explained that his company’s process makes powders that have improved function in certain applications. “For example, our powders can have excellent dispersibility in cold water. So if someone wanted to offer a powdered beverage product that offers true servings of fruits and vegetables and had other desirable characteristics (e.g. no grittiness, smooth consistency), they would be able to do that with our powders,” he said. “This is a non-trivial application, which is why such a beverage product is not currently found on the grocery store shelf. However, we have developed with our customers such beverage powders to launch into mass retail.” 

Organic growth and sales of ingredients allowed the company to make the idea a reality, and strategic investments have allowed it to expand its operations. In 2007, PowderPure expanded to a 30,000-square-foot facility, where production continued and scaled where it ran 24/7 for most of the five years the company operated the facility (even through the Great Recession). Then in 2012, PowderPure expanded to its existing 70,000-square-foot facility. “The critical investment we have made was to commercialize the process to demonstrate its feasibility, its advantages and its economics,” said Savarese.

“We work continuously to manufacture better versions of our powders to enhance their physical characteristics for function, retention of nutrients, flavor and color,” he added. “Our versatile process dries juices, puree, pulps, suspensions, extracts, slurries or pastes. Depending on a company’s final application, our flowable, dispersible powders can meet their needs, and the quality will be readily apparent to their customers.”

Timing is Everything

As more consumers are addressing their digestive health as a cornerstone of overall health, they have driven growth in probiotics and nutritional enzymes, especially those in convenient supplement delivery forms. But the industry has had its concerns about delivery methods that can help support maximum effectiveness of these ingredients (seeing that they cross the acidic stomach environment to the intestines, where they work best) while simultaneously meeting the increasing consumer need for vegetarian product options.

Drcaps™ capsule from South Carolina-based Capsugel were developed to effectively address all of the various challenges and shortcomings of delivering acid-sensitive ingredients, in particular probiotics and enzymes. “Our manufacturing customers had been asking for more innovative dosage forms with protective properties. In addition, consumers are continually looking for delivery dosage forms that are convenient and help enhance effectiveness of ingredients. And both our customers and their consumers have been increasing their demand for vegetarian solutions,” said Missy Lowery, Capsugel’s senior marketing manager. “DRcaps capsules were created as a comprehensive win-win solution for both manufacturers and consumers.” 

Introduced in spring 2011, Drcaps is a vegetarian capsule with unique technological advances in the polymer properties themselves that slow down capsule opening after swallowing. Made from hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), Drcaps capsules disintegrate more slowly than conventional gelatin or HPMC capsules, helping protect ingredients within after swallowing from early activation caused by stomach acid, without adding synthetic chemicals, solvents or other coating ingredients.

Supplement manufacturers have turned to a range of dosage delivery solutions to enhance protection of probiotics and nutritional enzyme ingredients in various environments. “However, many of these solutions might solve one issue but not others,” Lowery explained, noting that enteric coatings and gelatin capsules present their own drawbacks. ”They offer variable shelf life for the ingredients and show limited proof of delivery to the intestines while increasing manufacturing time and costs.” 

But for acid-sensitive probiotics, Drcaps capsules fill a huge void. The revolutionary dosage form offers unique polymer properties formulated within the capsule itself to slow opening after swallowing without adding synthetic chemicals, solvents or other coating ingredients that increase manufacturing time and costs. “With moisture content of four to six percent in 50 percent relative humidity, Drcaps inherently enhances stability for moisture-sensitive probiotics,” said Lowery, adding that Drcaps were designed to resist acid in order to protect nutritional ingredients from full release and disintegration in the stomach and allow for complete dissolution in the intestine.

And because the delayed-release mechanism is built into the polymer properties, there is no need for enteric coatings. This elimination of a coating step helps manufacturers cut production costs and time, allowing them to launch products more rapidly.

A 2013 independent scintigraphic in-Vivo study of Drcaps documented that the specially formulated acid-resistant HPMC capsules are ideally suited for delayed delivery of acid-sensitive ingredients such as probiotics and enzymes. Conducted by Bio-Images Research in Glasgow, Scotland, the study was designed to investigate the in-vivo behavior of Drcaps using a scintigraphic method to assess the gastrointestinal transit and release of the contents from capsules based on the images obtained.

Data and images (see Figure 1) from this human clinical study empirically demonstrate the capsules’ effective protection from early activation caused by stomach acids and, for a majority of study subjects, complete release in intestines where products such as probiotics and enzymes work best. “More specifically, the capsules began release in a mean time of 52 minutes after ingestion— when they were about to leave the stomach and 45 minutes later than an immediate release capsule,” said Lowery. “They completely released the ingredients in a mean time of 72 minutes after ingestion—most often in the intestines where probiotics and enzyme ingredients are most effective.” 

Further, the inherent polymer properties of Drcaps capsules offer the added benefit of helping to minimize the bad taste or aftertaste of some ingredients, making it an excellent choice for ingredients such as garlic and valerian root.

“In a consumer sensory panel commissioned by Capsugel, consumers compared an encapsulated ingredient known to have a bad aftertaste with a tablet version of the same ingredient,” Lowery explained. “The majority of consumers said they did not perceive an aftertaste with the Drcaps product, while two thirds said they perceived an immediate aftertaste with the tablet version.” 

Capsugel presented Drcaps capsules at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA in March 2011. Since then, the company has provided webinars, presentations and white papers to the industry on both the technology and the needs of the vegetarian-aware consumer.

Extra! Extra!

Visit www.niemagazine.com to learn about an innovation in rice starch providing clean label ingredient for the baby food market.

Albion Minerals®