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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Oct;78(19):6914-21. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01724-12. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Role of calcium alginate and mannitol in protecting Bifidobacterium.

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  • 1School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was carried out to ascertain the mechanism of Ca-alginate and mannitol protection of cell envelope components and secondary proteins of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bb12 after freeze-drying and after 10 weeks of storage at room temperature (25°C) at low water activities (a(w)) of 0.07, 0.1, and 0.2. Preparation of Ca-alginate and Ca-alginate-mannitol as microencapsulants was carried out by dropping an alginate or alginate-mannitol emulsion containing bacteria using a burette into CaCl(2) solution to obtain Ca-alginate beads and Ca-alginate-mannitol beads, respectively. The wet beads were then freeze-dried. The a(w) of freeze-dried beads was then adjusted to 0.07, 0.1, and 0.2 using saturated salt solutions; controls were prepared by keeping Ca-alginate and Ca-alginate-mannitol in aluminum foil without a(w) adjustment. Mannitol in the Ca-alginate system interacted with cell envelopes during freeze-drying and during storage at low a(w)s. In contrast, Ca-alginate protected cell envelopes after freeze-drying but not during 10-week storage. Unlike Ca-alginate, Ca-alginate-mannitol was effective in retarding the changes in secondary proteins during freeze-drying and during 10 weeks of storage at low a(w)s. It appears that Ca-alginate-mannitol is more effective than Ca-alginate in preserving cell envelopes and proteins after freeze-drying and after 10 weeks of storage at room temperature (25°C).

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