Lately we’ve been fielding lots of questions from manufacturers surrounding the use of probiotics in consumer food, companion animal and feed products, and it’s no wonder. The global demand for these “good bacteria” is growing fast due to the diverse therapeutic benefits they provide.
In fact, promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria improves digestion, immunity, weight control and diabetes, skin health, oral health, cardiovascular function, and cognition; it also helps in treating intestinal inflammation, urogenital infections and diarrhea related to Crohn’s, Colitis and Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBD). Clearly, probiotics are proving to be one of the most versatile ingredients of our time.
Common Challenges Associated with Storage and pH Survivability
Regardless of the strain—Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Bacillus Coagulans or mixed cultures—probiotics can be affected by any number of issues associated with packaging, storage and pH. The challenge is to get the living microorganisms to pass through the acidic environments of the stomach still intact and move into the intestines where the nutrients are absorbed.
This is where Maxx technology comes in. We helped two manufacturers—one of pet treats, the other of swine and poultry feed—overcome their problems with freeze-dried probiotics. According to product developers from both companies, the products they purchased were not delivering according to spec. In fact, their numbers of colony-forming units (CFUs) had fallen by several logs during storage.
We explained how microencapsulation can resolve their application issues. By coating each particle in material the size of a human hair, Maxx stabilizes the probiotic particles for storage and processing at any temperature, and enables them to survive the gastrointestinal tract for delivery to the intestines.
The Microencapsulated Probiotic Solution—Fast, Cost-Effective and Stable.
We asked the two companies to ship us samples of their freeze-dried probiotics and, as expected, they arrived at our facility packaged with dry ice in large Styrofoam containers. Within 48 hours of receiving the raw materials, we sent back samples of the microencapsulated probiotics by UPS and FedEx.
Both product developers called to inquire why their expensive probiotics had shipped in a simple plastic bag. We explained that because the product had been stabilized, there was no need for expensive packaging and overnighting. Right out of the box, we had introduced a huge cost savings for the two parties.
- After 8 months, the pet treat formulator indicated that product stability was still intact and that they had not lost a single log; they were ready to commercialize.
- After 18 months, the feed formulator said that they had included the microencapsulated probiotics into pellets and recovered 95%; they, too, saw marked improvements in feed efficiency and time to market, and were ready to scale up.
If you’re thinking of incorporating healthy probiotics into your product mix, don’t hesitate to connect with Maxx.