Termites are among nature’s most spectacular builders, constructing mounds that can reach heights of several meters. Relative to the size of their bodies, these structures are considerably larger than the tallest skyscrapers constructed by humans . Surprisingly, in many termite species, individual termites don’t spend much time in these mounds. Instead, they live in an underground network of tunnels and chambers that can be home to millions of individual insects. But, if not to live in them, why do termites build such intricate and gigantic above-ground structures ?
In past two decades, several approaches have been developed and optimized to encapsulate a wide variety of materials, from food to cosmetics and the more demanding realm of therapeutic reagents. Inspired by biological cells, the first attempts were to use either natural or synthetic lipid molecules to form encapsulation vessels, i.e., liposomes. Then, with the increasing awareness of controlled release of cargo, especially for therapeutic purposes, advanced materials such as polymers were developed to form carrying vessels. Despite the enormous progress in encapsulation technologies, however, these methods can be limited in their applicability regarding encapsulation efficacy, permeability, mechanical strength, and for biological applications, compatibility.
Emulsions are typically prepared by mixing water and oil. However, emulsions can also be prepared by mixing two or more aqueous solutions containing incompatible polymers under the right conditions. Song and co-workers have developed a method to prepared water-in-water emulsions and used it as template to prepare microcapsules