Ambient drink opportunities emerge for probiotics with encapsulation advance

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

“With this technology you could have probiotic water or probiotic cola,”  said AnaBio CEO Aidan Fitzsimons.  Image  © Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images
“With this technology you could have probiotic water or probiotic cola,” said AnaBio CEO Aidan Fitzsimons. Image © Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images

Related tags Probiotics microencapsulation

Ireland’s AnaBio Technologies has launched a range of encapsulated probiotic strains including well-established Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species that can survive temperature stresses associated with UHT processing.

AnaBio, a micro encapsulation specialist based in Cork, was built on work done by founder Sinéad Bleiel, PhD.  Dr Bleiel founded the company in 2011 after studying at the Irish national dairy research center in Moorepark, in Cork. She has also studied at University College Dublin and Michigan State University.

Dr Bleiel told NutraIngredients-USA that the company has now launched a range of probiotic strains including Bifidobacterium​ and Lactobacillus​ species which are protected via​ micro encapsulation against the stresses associated with UHT processing: 140 °C for three seconds with greater than 80% survival.

“This enables clients to create a new-to-the-world product platform; shelf stable drinks containing live probiotics, delivering the health and wellness benefits of probiotics in a convenient format suited to an on the go lifestyle,”​ Dr Bleiel told NutraIngredients-USA. “The technology allows probiotic drinks to escape the confines and costs associated with the refrigeration cabinet and reach a much broader market.

“This opens up how to put probiotics into ambient beverages,” ​added Aidan Fitzsimons, the company’s CEO. “It creates a new category.”

Over a decade of development has gone into the technology, which uses only label-friendly protein to protect the probiotics until they reach the intestine of the consumer, said Dr Bleiel. The bacteria are then released by the natural digestion process to enhance gut microbiome activity.

AnaBio has already scaled the technology up to small scale and is exploring how to engage with clients in supply or licensing opportunities. Some clients are reportedly already conducting trials.

Dr Bleiel explained that the cost per serving is highly competitive relative to the consumer benefits and overall unit beverage costs.

Competitive landscape

There are other companies that offer heat-stable probiotics, such as the spore formers by the likes of Sabinsa and Kerry, or ‘heat-stable’ Lactobacillus plantarum​ from India’s Triphase Pharmaceuticals.

However, Fitzsimons said that, to the company’s knowledge, “thereare no direct competitors to this​.

“With this technology you could have probiotic water, probiotic cola, probiotic beer,” ​he added.

Beyond probiotics

AnaBio owns 13 patents on its micro encapsulation processes.  These use natural, food grade encapsulation layers to protect delicate bioactives during manufacture against environmental stresses like heat, acid, moisture, oxygen and to prevent subsequent degradation.

The company also advertises a range of encapsulated products, including sports nutrition ingredients such as caffeine, creatine and glutamine.  The company also offers a range of encapsulated antioxidant ingredients as well as encapsulated omega-3 oils.

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