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Protective Biopolymer Coating For Bacteria Could Benefit Probiotics Companies

September 5, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
One of the problems faced by probiotics manufacturers is protecting beneficial bacteria as they navigate the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach on their way to the intestines. Now researchers in the U.K. have developed a protective biopolymer coating that taxis probiotics to the intestines unharmed. The researchers say the biopolymer could provide a major boost for the probiotics industry, which in the U.K. is valued at £200 million ($319 million) a year. The novel biopolymer is completely biodegradable, but remains intact in the stomach. It continues to the intestine, disintegrates and releases the bacteria. In the lab, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria strains survived in simulated gastric juices for four hours when coated with the polymer.
Dr. Iza Radecka, et al., "New Polymer Research Could Boost Probiotics Industry", News release, presentation at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn Conference, September 05, 2011, © Society for General Microbiology
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