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Encapsulation of probiotics: insights into academic and industrial approaches

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The natural inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract play a key role in the maintenance of human health. Over the last century, the changes on the behavior of our modern society have impacted the diversity of this gut microbiome. Among the strategies to restore gut microbial homeostasis, the use of probiotics has received a lot of attention. Probiotics are living microorganisms that promote the host health when administered in adequate amounts. Its popularity increase in the marketplace in the last decade draws the interest of scientists in finding suitable methods capable of delivering adequate amounts of viable cells into the gastrointestinal tract. Encapsulation comes into the scene as an approach to enhance the cells survival during processing, storage and consumption. This paper provides a comprehensive perspective of the probiotic field at present time focusing on the academia and industry scenarios in the past few years in terms of encapsulation technologies employed and research insights including patents. The analysis of the encapsulation technologies considering food processing costs and payload of viable bacteria reaching the gastrointestinal tract would result into successful market novelties. There is yet a necessity to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

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Probiotics in human medicine.

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Microencapsulation of probiotic bacteria: technology and potential applications.

In the recent past, there has been an explosion of probiotic health-based products. Many reports indicated that there is poor survival of probiotic bacteria in these products. Further, the survival of these bacteria in the human gastro-intestinal system is questionable. Providing probiotic living cells with a physical barrier against adverse environmental conditions is therefore an approach currently receiving considerable interest. The technology of micro-encapsulation of probiotic bacterial cells evolved from the immobilised cell culture technology used in the biotechnological industry. Several methods of micro-encapsulation of probiotic bacteria have been reported and include spray drying, extrusion, emulsion and phase separation. None of these reported methods however, has resulted in the large numbers of shelf-stable, viable probiotic bacterial cells necessary for use in industry for development of new probiotic products. The most commonly reported micro-encapsulation procedure is based on the calcium-alginate gel capsule formation. Kappa-carrageenan, gellan gum, gelatin and starch are also used as excipients for the micro-encapsulation of probiotic bacteria. The currently available equipment for micro-encapsulation is not able to generate large quantities of uniform sized micro or nano capsules. There is a need to design and develop equipment that will be able to generate precise and uniform micro or nano capsules in large quantities for industrial applications. The reported food vehicles for delivery of encapsulated probiotic bacteria are yoghurt, cheese, ice cream and mayonnaise. Studies need to be done on the application of micro-encapsulation of probiotic bacteria in other food systems. The number of probiotic supplements will increase in the future. More studies, however, need to be conducted on the efficacy of micro-encapsulation to deliver probiotic bacteria and their controlled or targeted release in the gastrointestinal tract.
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Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria

W FAO, FAO/WHO (2001)

Author and article information

[] SRSMC UMR 7565, Université de Lorraine, CNRS, Bd des Aiguillettes-BP 70239 F-54506 Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France
Author notes
Roudayna Diab, E-mail:; Tel: (+33)-03-83-68-46-61.
AIMS Materials Science
AIMS Materials Science
AIMS Materials Science
AIMS Materials Science
AIMS Press
17 January 2016
: 3
: 1
: 114-136
ScienceOpen disciplines:


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