Delivery Vehicles

Probiotics are live microorganisms which confer a health benefit on the host when administered in an adequate amount. Over the past decades, the market size of probiotics has greatly increased as modern consumer concern about health-promoting effect of nutraceuticals. Since probiotic-containing products in general do not require Food and Drug Administration approval, they are commonly available in the market in various food formats such as fermented milk, cheese, yogurt and juice. In recent years, probiotics have been extensively studied as a treatment option of various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, human immunodeficiency virus infection, irritable bowel syndrome. For probiotics to exert beneficial activities, a sufficient amount of probiotics should be alive and functionally active at the site of action as well as in a product. Probiotics are recommended to be present at a minimum level of 6 log colony forming unit (CFU)/g in a food product or 7 log CFU/g at the point of delivery. Due to the vulnerability of probiotics to harsh conditions during manufacturing, storage and passage through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, however, it is difficult that viable probiotics successfully exert beneficial activities. During manufacturing and/or storage, the viability of probiotics can be negatively affected by several factors such as temperature, water activity and other food ingredients. Specifically, high temperature during manufacturing processes is a main reason for reduced viability because most probiotics have low thermo-resistance. Maintaining viability in the stomach is another difficult task for probiotics to reach the target site because most of probiotics die or lose their functionality at acidic conditions. Next, survived probiotics should be released at the target site of action which is usually small or large intestine. Therefore, an ideal probiotic delivery system should protect probiotics from adverse conditions during fabrication and storage and in the acidic gastric environment so that the sufficient amount of probiotics is available in the site of action.

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