Probiotic tea and a muffin anyone?

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Probiotic tea and a muffin anyone?
A probiotic strain that can survive being baked, boiled and frozen – opening up a raft of new opportunities in functional foods – is being launched on the UK market.

The probiotic strain GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans​ GBI-30, 6086), developed by US-based Ganeden Biotech, can be used in everything from hot tea to muffins, frozen yogurts and cereal bars, said Cornelius, a UK-based ingredients distributor which has just struck a deal to supply it to the UK market.

To date, most products containing traditional probiotic organisms such as lactobacillus, acidophilus and bifidobacteria have been in the chilled, short-life dairy category, Joy Thomas, business manager, health and food, at Cornelius, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

However, GanedenBC30 had been shown to withstand a whole variety of processes from boiling and freezing to extrusion and baking, said Thomas, and was now on the market in the US in a range of products from oatmeal to frozen desserts.

Protective coating

GanedenBC30 is a spore-forming probiotic bacterium, meaning that inside the bacterial cell is a hardened structure, or spore, which is analogous to a seed, she explained.

“This spore safeguards the cell’s genetic material from the heat and pressure of manufacturing processes, challenges of shelf-life and the acid and bile it is exposed to during transit to the digestive system.

“Once it is inside the small intestine, the viable spore is then able to germinate and produce new vegetative cells or’ good’ bacteria.”

In contrast, traditional probiotic organisms such as lactobacillus, acidophilus and bifidobacteria are not able to form these protective spores, making them vulnerable to heat, pressure and acidity in the digestive system.

Health claims

As to the thorny issue of health claims in Europe, Thomas admitted that the poor performance of health claims applications for probiotics to date could prove a barrier to progress for products such as GanedenBC30, with some customers reluctant to pursue any development work until there was complete clarity over claims.

However, others hoped that there would still be room for manoeuvre to get their messages across without falling foul of the stricter regime, she said.

Edible glitter

Cornelius​, which is based in Bishops Stortford, near Cambridge, has also recently become the UK and Ireland distributor for Acatris’ Pectacon range of stabiliser solutions for dairy desserts, ice cream, sauces, fruit fillings and other products, said Thomas.

“We’re looking at a whole range of applications from making creamier ice cream to stopping pastry from becoming soggy.”

It was also exploring a variety of new applications for trehalose (a disaccharide derived from starch) that Cornelius distributes in the UK for Japanese supplier Hayashibara.

Trehalose, which is water soluble, highly stable, tooth-friendly, and not especially sweet (45% as sweet as sucrose) was very effective at stopping moisture migration in everything from frozen mashed potato to bakery products, said Thomas. But it also worked well in the sports nutrition arena.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the sports nutrition area but also from manufacturers of ice cream and bread.”

One of Cornelius' biggest successes in the last 12 months, however, had been edible glitter from US supplier Watson, said Thomas. “It’s really taken off this year. We’re probably selling 10 times the volumes we were.”

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