Longevity of probiotic is the main concern for getting maximum benefits when added in food product. Bifidobacterium, a probiotic, tends to lose its viability during gastrointestinal track (GIT) transit and storage of food. Their viability can be enhanced through microencapsulation technology. In this study, Bifidobacterium bifidum (B. bifidum) ATCC 35914 was encapsulated by using two experimental plans. In the first plan, chitosan (CH) at 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0% and sodium alginate (SA) at 4, 5, and 6% were used. Based on encapsulation efficiency, 6% sodium alginate and 0.8% chitosan were selected for single coating of the bacteria, and the resulting micro beads were double coated with different concentrations (5, 7.5, and 10%) of whey protein concentrate (WPC) in the second plan. Encapsulation efficiency and GIT tolerance were determined by incubating the micro beads in simulated gastrointestinal juices (SIJ) at variable pH and exposure times, and their release (liberation of bacterial cells) profile was also observed in SIJ. The microencapsulated bacterial cells showed significantly (P < 0.01) higher viability as compared to the unencapsulated (free) cells during GIT assay. The double-coated micro beads SA 6%-WPC 5% and CH 0.8%-WPC 5% were proven to have the higher survival at pH 3.0 after 90 min of incubation time and at pH 7.0 after 3-h exposure in comparison to free cells in simulated conditions of the stomach and intestine, respectively. Moreover, double coating with whey protein concentrate played a significant role in the targeted (106-9 CFU/mL) delivery under simulated intestinal conditions.
Keywords: Alginate; Bifidobacterium bifidum, chitosan; Colon; Encapsulation; Gastrointestinal survival.