Gelatin Capsules: A Cure for hundreds of Lab. Headaches.

Unique Properties:

Material: biodegradable, non-toxic, natural origin (protein), few inorganic impurities, FDA approved

Solubility: soluble in water and biological fluids

bulletsoluble in-vivo (orally, vaginally, rectally, subcutaneous and intraperitonatal implantation)
bulletinsoluble in organics or oils
bulletdelays reaction of one or more materials in a solution for 2-3 minutes
bulletcan be used as soluble mold

Appearance: clear, transparent for easy inspection of contents, allows light (including UV) to pass through.  Opaque colors block light.

Temperature Stability: may be cooled to 5K and thawed to 298K.

Combustion: low heat of combustion

Laboratory & Industrial Applications:

The examples below are only a few of the variety of uses for capsules in laboratories like yours.

General use


Procedure & Advantages of Capsule


Shells1, Optics

Insects2, Stones3

capsules are 100% biodegradable and made from a natural protein (gelatin), offer sample visibility and protection from moisture and O2; are free of volatile monomers; low cost.

Unit Dose Container for reagents, etc.

Bacteria media4

BOD Demand Test5

ph Buffer6

Free Chlorine Test7

capsules containing a measured quantity of reference material dissolve when added to water. Convenient, waste-free, closed system.

Analytical Test Method - Delayed Reaction

CaCO3 in soil8

Can/Bottle Testing9

Coulemetric TCO210

capsule delays HCl reaction with soil until container is sealed

capsule containing NaC03 added to a can/ bottle with H20 which is sealed. Capsule dissolves and container is checked for resistance to gas pressure.

capsule delays reaction until container is sealed.


Utility Poles11

capsule disintegrates in fungus infested utility pole and releases MITC

Biological Pest Control

Parasite Growth Container12

a worm and an agriculturally desirable parasite are placed in capsule; parasites infest worm and multiply; capsule containing parasites crushed and distributed in infested crops.

Soil Treatment

Biocaps 2.513

capsule disintegrates in soil to release natural fruit tree innoculant

Implantation Subcutaneous


capsule containing powdered BMP is surgically inserted at bone damage site and dissolves after incision is closed.

Analytical Testing - Combustion

Fuel Heat Content15

capsule has few impurities; can hold organic solvents; yields little heat during combustion; no loss of volatiles.

Disposable Test Tube

Brookfield Viscosity Testing

paint is added to a large capsule and viscosity measured using a Brookfield. No washing required.

Implantation Intraperitonataly

Simulation of surgical infections16

capsule containing infectious material is surgical inserted; capsule is found to moderate effect of infectious material so it causes a treatable infection and not fatal sepsis.

Soluble Sample Container

Freon in Tobacco17

capsule filled with Freon aerated tobacco, holds Freon in tobacco until it is added to test solution where it dissolves and Freon released is measured.

Soluble Mold

Biological material embedding18,19

test sample placed in capsule and resin added. Capsule washed of after resin cures. Capsules: area an O2 barrier; allow UV light curing; dissolve of without causing stress to sample.

1. Mini-Shells in Gelatin Capsules, W. Faber, Vita Marina, 1979-2 Collectietechriek 82

2. Storing Insect Specimens in Gelatin Capsules, Hamilton K.G.A., 1983, Syllogeus No. 44:89-91

3. Brooklyn Museum, Virginia Museum of Natural History

4. CircleGrow, Bio 101, Vista, CA.

5. Polyseed BOD Seed Inoculum, Polybac, Bethlehem, PA.

6. phHydrion Buffer, Microessentials Laboratory, Brooklyn, NY.

7. Free Chlorine Test, Hawk Creek Laboratory, PA

8. Chemical Analyses, Calcium Carbonate, USDA Soil Conservation Dept., Lincoln, NE.

9. Various Corporate Test Laboratories

10. Coulometric TCO2 Analyses For Marine Studies An Introduction, Marine Chemistry, 16 (1985) 61-82.

11.Gelatin Encapsulation of methylisothiocyanate for control of wood decay fungi, Zahora & Corden, Forest Products Journal, Vol 35, No. 7, pg 64-69. Other publications: OSU Forest Research Laboratory.

12. Commercial Product, Bo-Biotrol, Winton, CA.

13. Biocaps 2.5, Tainio Technology & Techniques, Cheney, WA.

14. Experimental Heterotopic Bone Formation Induced by Bone Morphogenetic Protein & Recombinant Human Interlukin-1B, Clinical Orthopedics, December 1988, Vol. 237, p 236-244.

15. Commercial Product, Parr Instrument Co., Moline, IL

16. University & Industrial Application

17. Industrial Application.

18. Principles & Techniques of Electron Microscopy.

19. A Flat Embedding Method for LR White and LR Gold Resins, L. G. Komuves, TSEMI, Vol. 23:2, 1992.

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