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Danisco supports science of probiotic juices

By Stephen Daniells , 14-Jun-2010

Antioxidant-rich fruit juices can support probiotics, say new findings from Danisco that support the potential of juices to offer an interesting alternative to dairy-based products.

Levels of the company’s Howaru strains were unchanged after formulation in a juice containing extracts of grape seed and green tea extract, and vitamin C, according to findings published in the Journal of Food Science.

Researchers from Victoria University in Australia, Danisco France and Danisco USA tested Howaru Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, Howaru Bifidobacterium lactis HN001, and Lactobacillus paracasei LPC 37 in juice fortified with a variety of antioxidants. Results showed that the Bifidobacterium strain showed good viability after six weeks of storage, with 89 per cent of the bacteria still viable.

The antioxidant ingredients “may promote a more favourable environment for probiotic bacteria and may prove useful in developing a new and novel fruit juice based functional foods”, they wrote.

Commenting on the significance of the findings, Peggy Steele, global business director, Health & Nutrition, BioActives for Danisco told NutraIngredients: “These findings show that there are ingredients that can be added to juice to improve stability. It plays an important role in achieving required probiotic dose in the product throughout shelf life."

From dairy to fruit

Yogurts and fermented dairy drinks have long been considered an ideal vehicle for delivering probiotic bacteria to the human gastroinstestinal tract, which explains the widespread use of probiotic cultures in dairy products but adding probiotics to juices is more complex.

In January, a spokesperson for Danisco told this website that great tasting juices with scientifically documented effects on consumer's health have great commercial potential. The company said that it has developed two probiotic juice concepts, both containing an effective dose of the Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 strain.

The new study supports such statements. The researchers prepared juices with each of the probiotics strains at a level of about 8.3 log CFU/ml, and added a variety of health ingredients, including vitamins B2, B3, B6, C and E, and extracts of white grape seeds and green tea.

The juice made with no added ingredients was not friendly to the gut-friendly bacteria, with very poor viability scores reported. However, “the model juice containing vitamin C, grape extract, and green tea extract showed better survival of probiotic bacteria”, wrote the researchers.

Market potential

Danisco’s Steele supported the potential of probiotic juices. “Juices have been identified through market research as a key delivery vehicle for probiotics,” she said. “Probiotic juices have shown a significant growth between 2003 and 2008 with 108 probiotic juice launches according to Mintel's GNPD.”

Recently we reported that sales of the world’s first probiotic juice, ProViva, have not been dented by the raft of probiotic strain negative opinions flowing from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), with sales jumping eight per cent in the first quarter of 2010.

ProViva, owned by Sewedish dairy Skånemejerier, records sales of about €55m per year retail, the majority in Sweden with low-level sales in Denmark and Finland.

Source: The Journal of Food Science
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01628.x
“Improving the Stability of Probiotic Bacteria in Model Fruit Juices Using Vitamins and Antioxidants”
Authors: N.P. Shah, W.K. Ding, M.J. Fallourd, G. Leyer

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