Together with NIZO, a Dutch 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 stabilizing agent during spray drying, shelf-life and in-vitro digestion of the valuable microorganisms – outperforming the organic benchmark excipient maltodextrin. The company said 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 microorganisms 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 stabilizing agent is essential. With its strong water-binding properties and significant buffering capacity, Omya said its functionalized mineral 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 stabilizers 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 1,000 times the amount of probiotic bacteria. In line with the digestion results, the functionalized mineral also showed significantly better stabilizing effects in the milk formulation and lactose tablets compared to maltodextrin. The findings show the mineral can be used as a stabilizer 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 and marketing at Omya, said, “Public awareness of gut health and its importance for wellbeing 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 functionalized mineral offers lots of possibilities for innovative probiotic formulations and positionings.”
Omya is a global producer of calcium carbonates and a worldwide distributor of specialty additives, premium services, and solutions. It has a global presence extending to more than 175 locations in more than 50 countries with 8,000 employees.