IFF achieves industrial scale production of next-gen probiotic
The global firm will now manufacture the proprietary gram-negative Akkermansia species, from lab to pilot to industrial scale, at the food-grade manufacturing and R&D site at Dangé-Saint-Romain.
Akkermansia muciniphila is a well-known bacterium with the ability to degrade mucin. This metabolic capability is believed to play an important role in the colonization of this bacterium in the gut. The novel (aka next-gen) Akkermansia sp. DSM 33459, isolated from human faeces of a healthy donor, has been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders by improving glucose and insulin levels in both mice and humans.
In the last decade there has been a significant increase in our understanding in the role of A. muciniphila in human health and its role has been extended from metabolic impact to inflammation, immune modulation, and impact on neurological disorders.
Until now, progress with these strains has been slow due to the challenges associated with producing ‘next generation’ probiotics at scale – linked to their complex and specific nutritional requirements.
At a NutraIngredients' recent Probiota conference, Dr. Johanna Maukonon, director of global clinical innovation at IFF Health, spoke about this strain but noted that commercialising these types of products is far trickier than standard probiotics.
“You could grow something in the lab, and it grows perfectly, but then when you put it into a bigger fermenter and start using food grade ingredients, having halal, kosher etc restrictions, plus the gas atmosphere can impact the strain.”
Speaking about this recent advancement, Sebastian Stahl, director for Process R&D at IFF, says: “We’ve made this breakthrough achievement thanks to our cutting-edge process development capabilities—which encompass small-scale, high-throughput and high-information tools—paired with our large-scale manufacturing skills and deep investments in our teams, facilities and certifications.”
Sebastien Guery, vice president, Health, IFF, adds: “Not only does the successful production of Akkermansia at industrial scale demonstrate that we have the know-how and technologies to identify promising microbiome solutions, but we’re also experts at establishing their safe and efficient production.
“We are proud of this milestone in IFF’s history, and we are confident in our ability to commercialize our extensive microbiome pipeline, comprising in-house developments, as well as projects with external partners or customers.”
Discussing the regulatory status of the strain, IFF says it will follow Novel Food Regulations in the EU and establishment of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in the US.
This next-gen strain may help improve insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and lipid metabolism, which could potentially benefit individuals with metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
A recently published IFF study into the Akkermansia sp. DSM 33459 strain utilised a preclinical obesity model to determine its effect on metabolic markers. The researchers found Akkermansia sp. DSM 33459 showed significant improvement in body weight, total fat weight, and resistin and insulin levels.
Interestingly, these effects were more pronounced with the live form as compared to a pasteurised form of the strain and the strain showed production of agmatine, suggesting a potential novel mechanism for supporting metabolic and cognitive health.
Based on its phenotypic features and phylogenetic position, the researchers concluded that this isolate represents a novel species in the genus Akkermansia and a promising therapeutic candidate for the management of metabolic diseases.