Synbiotics and chocolate mousse – a tasty combination?

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Probiotic

Chocolate mousse may be an excellent vehicle for probiotics and
prebiotics, suggests a new study from Brazil that is in line with
the trend for new ways of delivering the ingredients.

"Chocolate mousse was shown to be an excellent vehicle for the delivery of Lactobacillus paracasei, and the prebiotic ingredient inulin did not interfere in its viability," wrote lead author Lina Casale Aragon-Alegro from the Sao Paulo University.

"Moreover, the addition of the probiotic micro-organism and of the prebiotic ingredient did not interfere in the sensorial preference of the product."

Probiotics are bacteria found in the gut that are understood to have health benefits.

Although products cannot make bold health claims in most markets, research areas include gut health and immune health.

Prebiotics are ingredients that stimulate growth of probiotics in the gut, and synbiotics are a combination of the two.

Data drawn from Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD) shows that new dairy products mentioning probiotic, prebiotics and synbiotics in their have been stacking up steadily over the past five years: from 70 introductions listed in 2002 throughout the bloc to 238 in 2006.

This is no surprise, since dairy was the first category for the introduction of probiotics, and is particularly suitable since chilled conditions and short shelf-life are required both for the product and survivability of the bacteria.

New research from Brazil, and published in the Elsevier journal LWT: Food Science and Technology , suggests that another favourite of the chilled food section, chocolate mousse, may also be a suitable vehicle for probiotics, despite the delicate processes involved in manufacture.

"The industrial production of aerated dairy desserts is delicate, requiring knowledge about the formation and stabilization of foam, the use of functional ingredients (emulsifiers, stabilizers), and the interaction and interference of process parameters in the properties of the resulting product," explained Aragon-Alegro.

For the new study, the researchers prepared three mousses on the pilot plant scale; one contained no live cultures or prebiotic fibres (control mousse), one contained Lactobacillus paracasei subsp.

paracasei LBC 82 (Danisco), and the third contained L. paracasei plus inulin (Raftiline GR, Orafti).

The Brazil-based researchers monitored the products for 28 days to assess the population of the probiotic L. paracasei as well as contaminants, during storage at 5 °C, and reported that the probiotic was still viable after 28 days, maintaining population levels about seven log cfu per gram.

"The recommended level of probiotic microorganisms in food at the time of consumption is [one million] cfu per gram, to have beneficial effects on the consumer's health, criteria which would approve the chocolate mousse developed in the present study as a potential vehicle for the L. paracasei LBC 82 strain tested," wrote the researchers.

Aragon-Alegro and her colleagues noted that the growth of yeasts and moulds might limit the shelf life of the product, with growth detected after 14 days for both the control and probiotic mousses.

However, growth for the synbiotic mousse was not observed until 21 days of storage.

"This observation indicates that the production of probiotic and synbiotic mousse using some preservative or biopreservative that is not harmful for the viability of probiotic bacteria should be considered," they said.

Several studies have reported that probiotic organisms may adversely alter the flavour of the final products, but in the present study no such detrimental effects were observed, said the researchers.

Forty-two untrained consumers were recruited to taste and evaluate the three chocolate mousse batches, and no significant differences were reported in their overall preference, although the probiotic mousse was considered the most preferable, The researchers concluded that the results showed that chocolate mousse is an "excellent vehicle for the incorporation of L. paracasei subsp.

paracasei LBC 82 and the prebiotic ingredient did not interfere in this viability."

"Additional studies should be conducted focussing on the increase of the shelf life of the probiotic and symbiotic chocolate mousse, preferable through biopreservation," they added.

Source: LWT: Food Science and Technology Volume 40, Pages 669-675 "Potentially probiotic and synbiotic chocolate mousse" Authors: L.C. Aragon-Alegro, J. Henrique A. Alegro, H.R. Cardarelli, M.C. Chiu and S.M. Isay Saad

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