Founded in 2011, by Dr Sinéad Bleiel, AnaBio’s encapsulation technologies are patented for targeted and controlled release of vaccines, antibiotics, peptides, probiotics, nutraceuticals, nutrients, minerals, enzymes, bacteria, cheese cultures and a wide range of sensitive food and sports ingredients.
AnaBio product applications include functional food and dairy products, beverages and fruit juices, sports supplements, human, animal and aquatic supplements, infant and toddler formulations, and clinical health supplements.
Bleiel explained that the company stemmed from her PhD studies at the national dairy research centre at Moorepark, in Cork.
Bleiel said the foundation of the PhD was looking to ‘entrap’ different materials in whey protein and process it in a certain way.
Protecting bioactive ingredients
She added that the process uses dairy protein so it is applicable for infant formula, dietary supplements, etc., but can be used as a coating to protect bioactive ingredients.
“[Companies] need to be able to say, 'I have X number of probiotics at the end of a three-year shelf life' or 'X number of probiotics can be delivered to your intestine' - so from a regulatory perspective people look at encapsulation.”
Companies also look to encapsulation because they want to add a new ingredient to one of their existing product lines, Bleiel explained.
In terms of providing solutions for companies, Bleiel said AnaBio has clients that may have an issue trying to stabilize an ingredient in their final product. It might be related to shelf life, or survival through the acid in the stomach, or release in the intestine at the correct location.
Bleiel said they would investigate the specific issues, the nature of the product, and then, if possible, use a milk protein.
“We validate our technology using their ingredients to be sure we can meet the deliverables that they need for commercialization of their product, and once that's achieved we scale up and commercialize the product in the relevant market."
How it works
Bleiel explained the encapsulation process using candy to simplify it.
“If you think of it as a Smartie [or M&M], for example, encapsulating a probiotic, a peptide or an enzyme, where the chocolate is, and then providing this coating around the outside.”
Bleiel explained that this is all happening at a micron scale.
“The idea is that these particles are so small that they can also be put into a beverage. They don't sediment at the bottom,” she said.
Dairy the preferred option
Bleiel said that in spite of broadening from dairy proteins to vegetable proteins to be able to accommodate the vegetarian and vegan market – for which AnaBio uses pea and rice protein – the foundation of the business is still dairy.
“The growing population are becoming more aware of and leaning toward vegetable origin and vegetable protein. We have technologies that fit into that. But if we can sell milk protein technologies before pea protein, we always try to push that. It depends on the market we're active in,” Bleiel explained.
She added that an area that is continuing to grow is sports nutrition.
“In sports there's still a huge drive for milk protein and whey protein,” she noted.
“For us it's a foundation that we've been able to build upon and it's still growing. We can still grow our business based on milk protein, because it's just an exceptional ingredient to work with, and very functional.”