Hydroxy Alkyl Celluloses that Melt at Body Temperature for Food Preparation and Drug Delivery Applications

Cellulose derivatives, owing to their excellent properties and physiological safety, are used widely as thickeners, adhesives, binders and dispersants, water-retention agents, protective colloids, stabilizers and suspension, emulsifying and film-forming agents. Dr. Kiser and his colleagues have discovered that a series of biocompatible GRAS (generally regarded as safe) anions allow certain cellulose derivatives to melt and go from a gel below body temperature to a liquid at body temperature. They are able to tune this transition by using a wide variety of food-grade anions and by changing the concentration of these anions. The unique properties of these new hydrogels make them desirable for use in the food industry as a flavoring microencapsulate or as a gelatin substitute, alternately the chemistry can have applications in drug delivery and development of medical imaging contrast agents.

There is a growing market for vegetarian food substitutes with industry sales of $1.2 billion in 2005, amounting to a 64% increase since 2000. Opening the global gelatin market to vegetarians would increase a $ 3 billion per year industry. Microencapsulation can also be used in a number of applications; including bakery items, chewing gums, beverages and teas, and could release functional ingredients, as well as mask undesirable flavors. Flavor and fragrance material consumption was worth approximately $8 billion in 2003. In 2004, the US market for diagnostic imaging systems was valued at almost $7 billion and is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2009.

Stage of Development
This technology is part of an active and ongoing research program and has been demonstrated to work in proof-of-concept experiments. It is available for developmental support or licensing under either exclusive or non-exclusive terms.

Additional Info
See http://www.bioen.utah.edu/faculty/pfk/pages/pubs.htm

Inventor(s): Kavita Gupta, Patrick Kiser

Type of Offer: Licensing

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