Microencapsulation, i.e. a process by which particles of a substance being encapsulated are coated using another encapsulating substance, offers many benefits. Among other things, when using this method, it is possible to protect some substances, to separate compounds that may react with each other although they should not, to mask an unpleasant taste or odour of some food additives (for example vitamins from the B group); by encapsulating liquid compounds, it is easier to dose and store them owing to the fact that they are converted into powder. One of the materials used to manufacture microcapsules is starch, both the native and the modified. In Poland, for several years already, there have been grown two varieties of grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.); in the dry matter of its seeds, there is about 45% of starch containing approximately 35% of amylose. The objective of the paper was to determine possibilities of using the starch produced from grass pea seeds to make microcapsules. Starch stearates were obtained (from granular or pre-gelatinized starch) using two methods, and, next, they were applied to encapsulate menthone. There were determined, among other things, the total amount of menthone in microcapsules, the amount of menthonse that was really (truly) encapsulated, and the amount of methone that was not encapsulated and remained on the surface. The pre-gelatinization of starch caused an increase in the susceptibility to esterification, and the proof thereof was its higher degree of stearic acid substitution. With regard to the native starches, the highest amounts of methone were contained in microcapsules produced from the two varieties of grass pea (36,7- 37,2 g/100 g) whereas the microcapsules made of wheat and potato starches showed less amounts of menthone (28,7g and 25,6 g/100 g respectively). Also, irrespective of the method of manufacturing, the stearates from grass pea starches had, averagely, by 46% more menthone than those from wheat or potato starch. The stearates of all the starched investigated, which were produced using the pre-gelatinization, were characterized by a higher content of menthone if compared with the stearates obtained from granular starches.
grass pea, Lathyrus sativus, starch, microencapsulation