Encapsulation comprises a promising potential for the targeted delivery of entrapped sensitive agents into the food system. A unique combination of cellulose/chitosan (Cl-Ch)-based hybrid wall material was employed to encapsulate L. plantarum by emulsion technique. The developed beads were further subjected to morphological and in vitro studies. The viability of free and encapsulated probiotics was also evaluated in kefir during storage. The developed beads presented porous spherical structures with a rough surface. A 1.58 ± 0.02 log CFU/mL, 1.26 ± 0.01 log CFU/mL, and 1.82 ± 0.01 log CFU/mL reduction were noticed for Cl-Ch hybrid cells under simulated gastro-intestinal and thermal conditions, respectively. The encapsulated cells were found to be acidic and thermally resistant compared to the free cells. Similarly, encapsulated probiotics showed better viability in kefir at the end of the storage period compared to free cells. In short, the newly developed Cl-Ch hybrid-based encapsulation has a promising potential for the targeted delivery of probiotics, as career agents, in gastric transit, and in foods.
Keywords: emulsion; encapsulation; kefir; polysaccharides; simulated gastrointestinal conditions.