Most capsules are made of gelatin. Gelatin is widely us […]
Most capsules are made of gelatin. Gelatin is widely used in many foods such as puddings, sweets, candied fruit, chewy candy, sugar coatings, whipped cream toppings, and dips. In food applications, gelatin acts as a very popular, nutrient-rich, fat-free ingredient for gelling, thickening, stabilization, and aeration. Due to its hypoallergenic and water-absorbing properties, gelatin is also widely used in many daily necessities such as cosmetics and toiletries. Gelatin is a water-soluble protein extracted from collagen, which is the main natural protein component in connective tissue. Gelatin can be extracted from its collagen by treating the hides and bones in a controlled extraction process.
There are many types of gelatin. Capsules are made of pharmaceutical grade gelatin that meets the stringent requirements of the US Pharmacopoeia and other international agencies setting standards for the materials required for pharmaceutical production. In addition to gelatin, capsules can also be made from non-animal materials to meet the special requirements of a variety of cultures and diets, including vegetarians and diet-conscious patients. Pullulan and hypromellose are two non-animal derived capsule materials. Pullulan is a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by fermentation, and its safety has been widely recognized by national regulatory agencies. It has been used in commercial production for more than 25 years and is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Hypromellose (HPMC) is extracted from cellulosic feedstock and is used worldwide. In the process of producing capsules, gelatin, pullulan and hypromellose are all formed on a stainless steel die. The gel film on the needle will gradually harden after drying, eventually forming a capsule, and then removing the capsule from the needle. Typically, two different sized needles are used; one for the capsule and the other larger capsule for the two-section capsule. The capsule is then loaded into a capsule filling machine which will fill the capsule with a powder, liquid or paste.