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Wrigley And California Company Try To Extend Life Of Gum Flavor

January 10, 1989

CHICAGO (AP) _ Your chewing gum might not lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight now that California-style high tech has joined forces with the world’s largest gum producer.

The Chicago-based William Wrigley Jr. Co. announced it will work with Advanced Polymer Systems, Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., on a project to develop a chewing gum that keeps its flavor for longer.

William Piet, a Wrigley vice president, said Monday that the key is a new technology that ″enables timed release of flavor oils,″

The technology, patented by Advanced Polymer Systems, uses microscopic sponges, he said. The companies said the Microsponge systems could also be used to extend the life of food flavorings and food preservatives.

″By using these sponges, instead of gum releasing all the flavor at once, it will hold onto the flavor and release it in a sustained manner,″ said Sergio Nacht, Advanced Polymer’s vice president of research and development.

″It (flavor) will have to last significantly longer than it does now for people to perceive the difference,″ he said.

Piet said approval from the Food and Drug Administration would be needed before gum using the sponges could be sold. He said he did not know how long it would take to develop the product and get approval.

Nacht predicted it could take 18 to 36 months before the new gum hits store shelves.

Advanced Polymer uses its sponge technology in aftershave lotion and in various women’s cosmetics, Nacht said.

The process has also been used in topical drugs, such as ointments for sore muscles, he said.

″They hold a patented process that’s a good one,″ Piet said. ″We’re confident this is a technology that can be applied to food products. That’s why we entered into this agreement.″

In food, the new technology would incorporate millions of microscopic, nontoxic ″sponges,″ and the little containers would release the flavor when the food is chewed.

Under the gum agreement, Advanced Polymer will receive a small royalty from the sale of Wrigley products that are made with the Microsponge system, he said.

Wrigley will get a small percentage of the revenue Advanced Polymer gets in other food applications of the technology, Piet said.

Advanced Polymer developed the Microsponge technology in the early 1980s.

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