Swiss manufacturer Omya is developing a new mineral solution for greater stability, performance and survival rates of probiotics during formulation and delivery to the gut.
Together with NIZO, a leading contract research company, Omya studied the mineral's influence on probiotic viability during production and delivery processes.
The new product solution was shown to be an effective stabilising agent during spray drying, shelf-life and in vitro digestion of the valuable micro-organisms – outperforming the organic benchmark excipient maltodextrin.
These results demonstrate the mineral's high potential for probiotic applications in the food, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.
The market for probiotic supplements to support healthy gut flora is booming. However, the micro-organisms within these products are extremely sensitive.
If exposed to excess moisture or heat, such as during spray drying, they may be damaged and lose their beneficial qualities. Therefore, a stabilising agent is essential.
With its strong water-binding properties and significant buffering capacity, the functionalised mineral from Omya is a promising inorganic probiotic carrier.
For the research performed at NIZO's lab, Lactobacillus plantarum (strain WCFS1) – one of the most studied probiotics – was used as a model organism.
The Lactobacilli cultures were mixed with either maltodextrin or Omya’s mineral solution and spray dried to evaluate their survival rates. To assess the efficiency of the stabilisers during digestion and accelerated shelf-life experiments, the resulting powders were separately blended with skim milk powder or pressed into tablets with lactose as an excipient.
A representative in vitro digestion model demonstrated a proof-of-principle. Omya’s mineral solution outperformed maltodextrin in both matrices – milk powder and lactose tablets – delivering up to 1000 times the amount of probiotic bacteria.
In line with the digestion results, the functionalised mineral also showed significantly better stabilising effects in the milk formulation and lactose tablets compared to maltodextrin.
The findings prove that the mineral can be used as a stabiliser for probiotics and pave the way for a new expertise in probiotic production, supply chain and usage.
Stefan Lander, Vice President Consumer Goods, Group Sales & Marketing at Omya, said: “Public awareness of gut health and its importance for well-being and immune health is growing."
"Furthermore, interest in supporting the immune system has increased massively, particularly in light of the pandemic. More and more people want to support their intestinal flora with probiotics. Our new functionalised mineral offers lots of possibilities for innovative probiotic formulations and positionings.”