12 January - 20 June 2016

Developing a new generation of fruit based probiotic beverages

Scientists are reporting in Food Bioscience that pectin and pulp from passion fruit may be considered “excellent probiotic food carriers in non-fermented or fermented beverages.” Dairy products are usually used for the delivery of probiotics however alternative vehicles for probiotics are needed for those who are lactose intolerant or who cannot consume milk derivatives due to the foods cholesterol content.

Scientists are reporting in Food Bioscience that pectin and pulp from passion fruit may be considered "excellent probiotic food carriers in non-fermented or fermented beverages." Dairy products are usually used for the delivery of probiotics however alternative vehicles for probiotics are needed for those who are lactose intolerant or who cannot consume milk derivatives due to the foods cholesterol content.

Pectin, a prebiotic, can be extracted from different peels, including citrus, tomatoes and yellow passion fruit.  It has been shown to have potential gut health benefits.  As prebiotics are a non-digestible food ingredients they can pass through the small intestine to the lower gut and "become accessible for probiotic bacteria."

Gouveia et al. investigated the use of commercial pectin (CP) and pectin (PE) from the Caatinga passion fruit peel, and the use of the pulp in the development of probiotic beverages, fermented and non-fermented by Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The scientists prepared eight pasteurised beverages containing either CP or PE (20 g L) plus the pulp of the fruit and sucrose (10% w/v). They also prepared beverages without the addition of sucrose or pectin.  Lactobacillus rhamnosus was added to the drinks.  Gouveia et al. used a simulation of gastrointestinal conditions (6 hours) to determine the viability of the micro-organism. 

The scientists found that sucrose increased the survival of the micro-organisms when it was added to the non-fermented beverage compared to beverages without sucrose.  Commercial pectin was found to decrease survival, whilst pectin from the Caatinga passion fruit peel had the highest survival.  For the fermented beverages, survival was higher when sucrose and pectin were absent. When CP was added, survival was between 22-26% independent of fermentation.  However, using PE, survival was 43% in non-fermented beverages and 47% in fermented beverages.

The team also evaluated refrigerated storage of the beverages over 28 days for beverages containing sucrose, with CP or PE, without and with fermentation.  They measured the pH of the drink over the storage period. The pH of the refrigerated non-fermented beverage decreased by 3% for CP and 6% for PE, whilst the pH increased by 6% for the refrigerated fermented CP beverage and decreased by 3% for the fermented PE beverage. However, Gouveia et al. report that there was "no significant difference in pH, consumption of sucrose and lactic acid concentration during storage" according to analysis of variance. The scientists discuss the amount of probiotic necessary to achieve beneficial effect, noting that no agreement has been reached in relation to the concentration needs.  However, they suggest that concentrations of between 6 Log and 9 Logs are recommended. They report that a daily intake of 200 ml of their fermented beverage could reach 7 Log.

In conclusion Gouveia et al. state "The present study showed that pectin and the pulp of the passion fruit from Caatinga could be used as excellent probiotic food carriers.  The results encourage further research, varying the PE concentration, to evaluate adhesion properties of L. rhamnosus ATCC 7469 to intestinal epithelial cells."

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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