Designed peptide or protein surfactants that form a strong interfacial network are used to generate a stable oil in water nanoemulsion (or microemulsion) that does not coalesce. The peptide or protein surfactant also incorporates a mineralizing peptide sequence. In the presence of a silica source, this mineralizing component facilitates the formation of a silica shell to encapsulate the nanodroplet containing the active ingredient. The encapsulation process is very mild which should make it compatible for delicate actives such as proteins. Encapsulation efficiencies of >90% can be achieved.
The nanometer thickness of the silicate shell can be regulated which, in turn, allows the rate of active ingredient release to be controlled. A sustained release rate has been measured which can be controlled with the thickness of the silicate shell. Surface chemistry and texture can also be controlled to help optimise material characteristics.
Field trials for termite eradication are underway. Other applications are being lab tested.
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