Nestlé solves problem of probiotic fragility

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 5th January 2009

Nestlé’s research team has developed nutrients which assist in dealing with a major problem associated with probiotics – their fragility.

Probiotic fragility
Probiotics are living bacteria, which have to be kept alive – not only in the body, but also in foods when they are consumed. This is essential to give consumers health and wellness benefits that probiotics provide. The problem is that it is difficult for probiotics to survive in the conditions of heat, humidity or exposure to oxygen that are characteristic of processing, food manufacturing as well as transport and storage.

Probiotic production
Most research to date has been on the physiological effects and stability of probiotics in the gut. However, the critical point of probiotic stability in products has not been well addressed. Now, scientists at Nestlé’s Product Technology Centre in Konolfingen, and at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, have developed a blend of nutrients that protect probiotics during processing, transport and storage. This protective system reportedly works in a variety of products, including powders.

Probiotics and their impact on health
Several health benefits have been reported for probiotics. Depending on the strain, these include helping to improve digestion and immune function, as well as helping to defend against diarrhea.

Consumer benefits
Nestlé’s breakthrough in keeping probiotics alive during processing means that its consumers around the world benefit from having a greater choice of product formats that contain viable probiotics. Finished products include infant formulas and ‘growing up’ milks with probiotic strains that help to protect young children from diarrhea.

“This is a breakthrough in the processing of probiotics. The effect of probiotics on human health depends very much on the dose, and now, for the first time we have found a way to add probiotics in different product formats, and keep them viable throughout their shelf-life,” Monica Fischer, Department Manager Applied Science and Analytical Support, Product Technology Centre, Konolfingen, Switzerland.