Speaking to NutraIngredients.com at IFT Food Expo 2007 in Chicago, Professor Nissim Garti said that the nano-encapsulation technology would be extended to cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals, after its nutraceutical potential was awarded for innovation on Saturday. The nano-sized, self-assembly liquid vehicles have opened up lots of opportunities for nutraceuticals, encapsulates hydrophobic (non-water soluble) molecules in soluble materials. The resulting nanoparticles, said to range form five to 15 nanometres, will also improve bioavailability of the nutrient. The technology is already in use for a wide range of nutrients, including co-enzyme Q10, isoflavones, lutein, phytosterols, vitamins D and E, and beta-carotene, said Garti. "The technology is applicable for small and large molecules. Even proteins and peptides can be encapsulated," he said. The technology, developed four years ago, was launched commercially less than one year ago, said Garti. Having quickly establishing itself in the nutraceuticals sector, Garti is now looking at taking it into cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Interest in cosmeceuticals, nutrients taken orally that produce a cosmetic benefit, is growing rapidly with companies shifting focus to promote the 'beauty from within' value of a range of ingredients, ranging from cocoa flavonoids to the carotenoids lutein and lycopene. A recent study by Kline & Company valued the global market for it terms 'nutricosmetics' at $1bn. The company forecasts that the market is set to double over the next five years. To date, the trend has been more marked in Europe and Japan, with the North American market not catching on at the same pace. The nano-encapsulating system is said to offer a number of benefits for formulators. including enhancing bioavailability of the nutrients, enhancing solubilisation of the compounds, protection of the bioactives from oxidation and other forms of degradation, and that the release of the bioactives can be controlled by triggering with an ingredient in the solution by pH, for example. Garti also stressed that the end product is clear, with the nano-particles fully dilutable in water and oil. PL Thomas is responsible for the distribution of the technology.