12 January - 20 June 2016

Peanut butter matrices protect probiotic bacteria during simulated gastrointestinal passage

29 July 2015

Further to much research into the importance of food in probiotic viability in the digestive tract, a recent study carried out at the University of Georgia has identified that peanut butter could protect probiotic bacteria during simulated gastrointestinal passage. 

These microorganisms, when available in high enough numbers can be effective for example in the prevention, control and treatment of diarrhoea in pre-school children. But the availability of viable probiotic bacteria in high enough quantities can prove challenging due to the acidity of the human stomach. 

The study investigated the viability of three commercial probiotic products, the first contained Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the second product had 5 species of Bifidobacterium and 9 species of Lactobacillus and the third product contained a mixture of strains including L. acidophilus (CUL 60), L. acidophilus (CUL 21), B. bifidum (CUL 20) and B. lactis (CUL 34). Both full fat and reduced fat peanut butter were inoculated with each of the probiotic products and suspended in a 0.5% NaCl solution. Each product was also suspended in 0.5% NaCl without any food as a control. Samples were collected from a simulated gastrointestinal passage over a 30-360 min timeframe and quantities of probiotics were evaluated. On average, Streptococcus/Lactococcus species had the highest survivability followed by Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species. For example, after 120 mins (the end of the gastric phase) Lactobacillus cells from the control sample of the second probiotic product had decreased approximately twice as much as when the product was suspended in either full fat or reduced fat peanut butter, suggesting that peanut butter matrices could be used as a vehicle for probiotic delivery.

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