• Application of Probiotic Bacteria to Functional Foods

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Collins, K.; McBrearty, S.; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Desmond, C.; Kelly, J.; Bouchier, Paul J.; Lawless, Fergal; et al. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Probiotic cultures are described as live microbial feed supplements that improve intestinal microbial balance and are intended for maintenance of health or prevention, rather than the curing of disease. The demand for probiotic foods is increasing in Europe, Japan and the U.S. reflecting the heightened awareness among the public of the relationship between diet and health. Traditionally, the most popular food delivery systems for these cultures have been freshly fermented dairy foods, such as yogurts and fermented milks, as well as unfermented milks with cultures added. However, in the development of functional foods, the technological suitability of probiotic strains poses a serious challenge since their survival and viability may be adversely affected by processing conditions as well as by the product environment and storage conditions. This is a particular concern, given that high levels (at least 107 per gram or ml) of live micro-organisms are recommended for probiotic products. In previous studies (see DPRC No. 29) the successful manufacture of probiotic Cheddar cheese harbouring high levels (>108 cfu/g) of the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei NFBC 338 strain was reported. Hence, the overall objective of these studies was to continue the development and evaluation of Functional Foods containing high levels of viable probiotic bacteria, with particular emphasis on overcoming the technological barriers and the identification of strains suited to particular applications, such as incorporation into Cheddar cheese and spray-dried powders.