Maine Patent of the Month – April 2023
ClearH2O Inc., a research and development company focused on advancing animal research and agriculture through improved hydration, nutrition, and medication delivery solutions, has developed a new method for efficiently creating firm and stable hydrocolloid beads in large quantities.
Hydrocolloids are a group of long chain polymers that form viscous dispersions and gels when dispersed in water. They are commonly used in food products as thickening and gelling agents. The challenge with hydrogel beads is maintaining their form, as previous types of hydrogel beads have experienced syneresis, which is the undesirable expulsion of water from the bead.
ClearH2O’s hydrogel beads contain approximately 5% protein, along with fiber, carbohydrates, and water while also having a uniform size and shape. The patented processes take a hydrocolloid gel suspension of water and up to 10% hydrocolloid, and introduce the gel suspension into a reactant bath over time. As the gel solution sits in the bath, it firms up into beads. The resulting beads consistently measure between 1 millimeter (“mm”) and 5 mm in size and have minimal syneresis.
The beads may be used for a variety of purposes, such as a top dressing for poultry, starter supplemental hydration for poultry, vaccinations, and probiotic or nutrient delivery systems for poultry. Additionally, the beads may be used to supply hydration and nutrients to other animals, such as rodents, swine, cattle, and horses.
ClearH2O’s new method of hydrogel bead production is an efficient way of creating firm and stable hydrocolloid beads in large quantities. With the potential to be used in a variety of industries, this innovation could have a positive impact on both human and animal health.
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