Prebiotic nanofibre matrix aids probiotic survival in functional beverages

A prebiotic nanofibre matrix that protects beneficial bacteria in the low pH environment of fruit juices could prove an effective encapsulation agent for the probiotic delivery in functional beverages. The material-composed of 50% pectin, 25% nanochitin and 25% n a n o l i g n o c e l l u l o s e – p r o v i d e d protection for the probiotic Bacillus coagulans cells when mixed with peach juice at a pH of 3.6 over 5- week storage period of both 4°C and 25°C, according to Polish scientists. The findings could well be of interest to the probiotic food industry, which has seen interest in probiotic-containing fruit juices, soya-based and confectionary products, fuel a global market worth €147,6bn ($176.7bn) in 2013. Despite their popularity, the low pH environment of some fruit juices continues to be a challenge for beverage manufacturers, who have turned to microencapsulation in order to maintain a sufficient number of viable probiotics in the product. Among the used for this process, pectin is preferred due to its nontoxic, biocompatible and inexpensive properties. In addition, chitin as a biocompatible and nontoxic polymer aids delivery system in passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Cellulose as a renewable biopolymer and the most abundant renewable resource has demonstrated probiotic protection against harsh gastrointestinal conditions by its inclusion. In a collaboration between Iran’s Tarbiat Modares University and National Elites Foundation of Iran, the team began by using a mixture design method to blend pectinbased bionanocomposites with various compositions of nanochitin, nanolignocellulose and bacterial nanocellulose.