12 January - 20 June 2016

Research studies the stability of Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 in functional foods during processing and storage

Existing probiotics – delivering ‘helpful’ bacteria to the human digestive system to confer a range of health benefits – must overcome the body’s defensive systems, most notably extremes of pH, to colonise the host.

Existing probiotics – delivering ‘helpful’ bacteria to the human digestive system to confer a range of health benefits – must overcome the body’s defensive systems, most notably extremes of pH, to colonise the host. Probiotic bacteria contained inside processed foods are presented with an additional challenge: surviving manufacturing conditions in sufficient quantities to be effective in the finished product.

B. coagulans is a well-documented probiotic species within the Bacillus genus. The bacteria in this group can form spores; tough capsules containing and preserving the cell’s genome through harsh conditions, which can ‘germinate’ into a viable bacterium if the environment improves. This solves the issue of survival through the human gut without any need for additional processing; however, extremes of temperature, pressure or pH during manufacturing could still pose a danger to spore integrity.

The MTCC 5856 strain of B. coagulans, commercialised in spore form as Lactospore® by Sabinsa Corporation, is sold as a health supplement and in a range of foods. Collaborative research by Sabinsa and Sami Labs Ltd aimed to further investigate the stability of the spore preparation in a variety of different products with different processing steps: baked foods, heated drinks, oils, syrups and juices. Results indicated a high level of viability (66-95%) was maintained in such environments as coffee heated to 90C, preserves at ambient temperature, baked banana muffins and waffles, and refrigerated apple juice – with shelf life ranging from 6 to 24 months.

With these promising successes, it seems likely that Sabinsa Corp. could expand their own range of products and enter into partnerships with food and ‘nutraceutical’ manufacturers to deliver a safe and effective probiotic, as well as setting a precedent for further advances in functional food technology.

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