Known as K-10 Kefir, one of the strains used in the product is the company’s patented strain Lactobacillus paracasei N1115, Celia Ning, director at Junlebao Dairy Group’s Nutrition Research Institute told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“We also used strains from kefir, a traditional yogurt from Egypt. With these traditional strains, we further develop a new product with our patented strains and other strains [from supplier companies] that could provide health benefits,” she said, adding that the other strain used was Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12. The product was launched earlier this month.
Ning said that so far, the company has conducted a small scale, internal human study on the product.
Benefits reported include improvements in digestive function, bowel movement, and regularity.
The company is in the midst of conducting a clinical trial of the formulation in a local hospital.
On the other hand, Ning said that the 10 probiotic strains were found to have stimulated the proliferation of other strains.
“When our scientists did the shelf-life study, we found that the number of probiotic strains at the end of shelf life has increased.
“That means these 10 strains also stimulate the growth of other strains, which is an interesting finding. It's not like at the end of shelf life, the number of strains has reduced,” she said.
Building on existing success
Junlebao is already popular for its yogurt branded Jianchun in China. Said to be one of the bestselling zero-sucrose yogurts in China, Jianchun also claims to contain as much as four grams of dietary fibre per 250g carton.
Ning said that the new product was developed to offer health benefits via the use of probiotics, which she said was a feature lacking in China’s yogurt market.
“When you go to the supermarkets in China, you will see shelves that are stocked with different brands of yogurt. But they are always emphasising on product taste, different flavours, different packaging.
“Sometimes, the yogurts do talk about benefits, but the benefits are mostly surround one’s image.
“On top of Jianchun, we want to boost the use of probiotics and so we have developed K-10 Kefir.”
The company has been researching on probiotics for about 10 years. During which, they have studied and selected the strains that could survive between the pH levels of 2 and 8.
Another criterion is that the strains should be able to survive gastric acid, small intestine and reach the large intestine.
Lactobacillus paracasei N1115 is one such strain.
Ning said that studies conducted on N1115 found that it could improve immunity and reduce upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in the elderly, as well as improving immunity in one year old plus their intestine microbiota function.
However, the strain is not yet registered in China’s list of permitted probiotics for infant use yet.