How are probiotics manufactured?

Probiotics have made their way from Asia’s niche market to European and American markets. Functional foods are one of the fastest-growing industries, with a projected market value of $171.25 billion in 2021. The growing demand for probiotics, as well as new food markets where probiotics are being introduced, puts pressure on the industry to generate large volumes of viable and stable probiotic cultures. Because of the simplicity of storage, handling, and transport, dried concentrated probiotic cultures are the most suitable form for integration into functional foods, especially for shelf-stable functional foods.

At the industrial scale, human and aquaculture probiotics are often made utilizing batch fermentation with suspended cells, either without or with external pH control. To boost the biomass yield of the given strain, growth-promoting substances should be included in the growth media.

Step 1: Strain selection

The first and most important step in the production of probiotics is strain selection. The strain you choose is totally determined by your goal for making a specific probiotic supplement and any potential health claims you want to make. Whether you want to take a supplement to help with digestion, immune system health, or a healthy response to periodic stress, you may do so.

Each strain has its own characteristics and benefits. Some promote a healthy immune system, while others aid in lactose digestion. It goes without saying that high-quality probiotics raw materials are required for the production of high-quality supplements. To demonstrate efficacy, the chosen strains must survive in the stomach.

Each of the regularly used probiotics has its own genus –

Lactobacillus

Lactobacillus is a genus of friendly bacteria that produce lactic acid and makes up many of the 400 probiotic species found in the human body.  Lactobacilli have a number of advantages, such as:

  • Increasing mineral bioavailability and inducing growth factors.
  • Intestinal permeability is reduced by stabilizing the mucosal barrier.
  • Produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which helps bacteria maintain a healthy equilibrium.
  • Immunomodulating properties, such as improving immunological function.
  • Candida albicans levels should be kept at a healthy level.

Bacillus

Bacillus is a genus of probiotic bacteria that produce spores. The spore provides a protective encasement that allows for nearly endless storage until it is ready to be digested while also ensuring that it survives stomach transit intact. Bacillus species have a spore-like protein coating that allows them to withstand stomach acid, enter the small intestine, germinate, and grow, according to research. Furthermore, Bacillus species have been demonstrated to withstand bile, allowing them to persist in the small intestine as well.

Step 2: Media Formulation

Selecting naturally bile and acid-resistant strains, in addition to an efficient formula with the optimum amounts of raw ingredients, is critical. It’s also a good idea to get them tested for intestinal viability. The selected strains are then fermented and stabilized.

The probiotic strain is studied in a bioprocessing lab to see what controllable parameters and nutrients may be adjusted for growth. This investigation can be aided by a probiotic manufacturer. Large-scale production can begin once the specific combination of nutrients and process parameters has been determined.

Step 3: Fermentation

Probiotics can be made with ingredients gathered from all around the world. Furthermore, probiotics are made in order to maintain quality and freshness. Bacterial cultivation can take up to 6 weeks. While the cultures are growing, you can’t speed the cultivation process. Specific strain ID numbers are frequently unique to the material’s provider. As a result, you’re reliant on a single vendor because no one else can offer you the same strain IDs. Furthermore, some raw materials may not be easily available in the needed quantity with the contract manufacturer, causing the turn-around time to be extended.

All nutrients and equipment are sterilized during fermentation to prevent unwanted and unintentional contamination. In a large tank, the strain is added to the media. In the nourishing and warm ingredient bath, the strain multiplies until it achieves the desired count (CFU – Colony-forming Units). Metabolites, which are by-products of the bacteria’s nutrition metabolism, are also generated during this process.

Probiotics are difficult to work with throughout the manufacturing process and necessitate a large number of overages to ensure that each strain satisfies the supplement label’s claim.

Step 4: Centrifugation

You can separate probiotic strains from metabolites once the cultures are ready. Another crucial part of the probiotic production process that requires special attention is probiotic stability. The instant probiotic goods are packaged, they begin to lose their stability and freshness. For long-term preservation, many approaches are utilized to ensure supplement stability and efficacy. These steps are critical and have an impact on the viability and application suitability of probiotic strains.

  • Refrigeration – entails exposing the probiotic bacteria to extremely low temperatures.
  • Avoiding hot/humid conditions – This prevents bacteria from growing in humid situations. Several drying processes are used in this step.

o   Freeze Drying – is a more time-consuming yet gentler method.

o   Spray Drying – A faster process with greater temperatures, but not so high that germs cannot survive.

Following these steps, the probiotic is turned into a dry powder.

Step 5: Blending and Bottling

A single strain is contained in the powder above. Other probiotic powders are combined with the multi-strain composition to create an evenly distributed, balanced mixture. Other vital elements, such as prebiotics, flavoring substances, binders to provide other dosage forms, ingredients that compliment the probiotic’s health focus, and so on, can be added with probiotics. This mixture is then prepared into final dose forms such as pills, capsules, and powder.

Temperature, humidity, and light are all important factors for probiotics manufacturing to thrive in. These circumstances differ from strain to strain and have an impact on the product’s expiration date. As a result, they should be wrapped and prepped for shipment with care. Direct sunshine, high temperatures, and dampness should all be avoided.

Quality testing should be done throughout the manufacturing process.

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