While the value of the project has not been revealed Bifodan said it was “optimistic” about the project delivering real gains in probiotic ingestion-to-intestine delivery.
The company was available for comment today but Kasper Wennike, head of innovation at Bifodan, said in a statement that the project was seeking to address fundamental probiotic formulation issues
“The challenge of probiotic microencapsulation specifically, is to control temperature and water activity in the manufacturing process to ensure probiotic viability,” Wennike said.
Also involved are the University of Copenhagen and Danish Technological Institute.
“We are optimistic about a successful outcome, and very fortunate to be able to work with University of Copenhagen and DTI on this project,” Wennike said.
CEO Steen Andersen added: “We are very excited that Innovation Fund of Denmark recognises the demand for probiotic microencapsulation. That Bifodan are able to cooperate with University of Copenhagen on developing and scaling this technology, is nothing short of a technological breakthrough.”
The company said it would, “expand our acid protection technology to our entire probiotic product portfolio – a technology, which is very limited in its current commercial availability.”
Many probiotic strains are sensitive to gastric acid and some may not survive the passage through the stomach in adequate numbers to have a positive impact.
Microencapsulation has been explored by numerous companies as a way of enhancing gastrointestinal transit of specific probiotic strains, and for prolonging the shelf-life of strains in certain foods.
One study found that encapsulating probiotic bacteria in alginate-coated gelatin microspheres could protect against the stomach and upper intestine.
Another demonstrated that coating probiotic bacterial strains with alginate, then applying an extra coating of palm oil and poly-L-lysine, could significantly improve the viability of the bacteria.
Bifodan began selling probiotic supplements in 1992.