Biopolymer microgels improve probiotic viability, study suggests

By Tim Cutcliffe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: © iStock frentusha
Pic: © iStock frentusha

Related tags: Gut flora

Delivering probiotics via alginate-gelatin microgels could help survival into the large intestine.

“Encapsulating Lactobacillus salivarious Li01 into biopolymer microgels greatly enhanced their survival rates when exposed to long-term storage, heat and simulated gastrointestinal conditions,” ​stated the study team from Zhejiang University led by Mingfei Yao.

To be effective, probiotics must deliver large numbers of viable bacteria to the large intestine.

Shelf life, and inability of bacteria to survive gastrointestinal transit, may limit many commercial probiotic products.

Microgel performance

“Encapsulation significantly enhanced the viability of the probiotic during aerobic storage,”​ wrote the researchers.

Encapsulated probiotics also maintained their ability to grow.

Researchers used two types of biopolymer microgels:  alginate and combined alginate-gelatine. Free, non-encapsulated bacteria was the control.

“The alginate-gelatin microgels were the most effective at protecting the bacteria under simulated gastrointestinal conditions when compared to the alginate microgels and non-encapsulated bacteria,”​ added the team.

Alginate-gelatin microgels were significantly more heat-resistant than alginate or free bacteria.

“This research therefore suggests that alginate/gelatin microgels are a promising vehicle for protecting and delivering Li01 to the gut microflora,” ​conclude the team.

However, they acknowledge the need for further work to optimise the microgels for commercial applications.

Source: Food Hydrocolloids

Published online ahead of print: doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2017.05.033

"Microencapsulation of Lactobacillus salivarious Li01 for enhanced storage viability and targeted delivery to gut microbiota"

Authors: Mingfei Yao, Jiong Wu et al.

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