Encapsulation of probiotics


Probiotics are generally defined as live microbial food supplements that beneficially affect the host by improving the intestinal microbial balance and can be incorporated in several types of food products. In order to have beneficial effects, the probiotics must reach the colon in active form and be able to attach to the intestinal wall. Unfortunately many probiotics can become inactivated during their entire life cycle resulting in loss of functionality. Using encapsulation technology the viability and functionality of probiotics can however be maintained.

We aim for encapsulation of probiotics in order to maintain their viability during processing, product shelf life and also circumvent deactivation during transit through the human gastrointestinal tract ( in vivo ).

The capsule can be described as a core material with additional functional layers. Using membrane emulsification technology with high porosity microsieves results in monodisperse capsules with control in size and feasibilities for industrial scale-up. It is used to produce monodisperse spheres of alginate. The alginate spheres are gelled with calcium chloride and functions as matrix for holding the probiotics in the centre of the capsule. Protective layers can than be applied to the core in order to add stability in the gastrointestinal tract and in the applied product. Applying encapsulates smaller then 25 µm in food products makes them “undetectable” during consumption of the product. Upon consumption of the product the capsule should release its content only at the target location in the GI tract.
Figure 1: Design of capsule for encapsulation of probiotics

Fields of interests:
  • Microencapsulation technology
  • Membrane emulsification
  • Viability of probiotics
  • In vitro simulation for transit and release of encapsulates in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Application of encapsulates in food products