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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 11;8(11):e79041. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079041. eCollection 2013.

Mechanistic approach to stability studies as a tool for the optimization and development of new products based on L. rhamnosus Lcr35® in compliance with current regulations.

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Département Recherche et Développement, Probionov, Aurillac, France ; Laboratoire Matériaux et Santé EA401, Univ. Paris Sud, Châtenay-Malabry, France.


Probiotics are of great current interest in the pharmaceutical industry because of their multiple effects on human health. To beneficially affect the host, an adequate dosage of the probiotic bacteria in the product must be guaranteed from the time of manufacturing to expiration date. Stability test guidelines as laid down by the ICH-Q1A stipulate a minimum testing period of 12 months. The challenge for producers is to reduce this time. In this paper, a mechanistic approach using the Arrhenius model is proposed to predict stability. Applied for the first time to laboratory and industrial probiotic powders, the model was able to provide a reliable mathematical representation of the effects of temperature on bacterial death (R(2)>0.9). The destruction rate (k) was determined according to the manufacturing process, strain and storage conditions. The marketed product demonstrated a better stability (k = 0.08 months(-1)) than the laboratory sample (k = 0.80 months(-1)). With industrial batches, k obtained at 6 months of studies was comparable to that obtained at 12 months, evidence of the model's robustness. In addition, predicted values at 12 months were greatly similar (±30%) to those obtained by real-time assessing the model's reliability. This method could be an interesting approach to predict the probiotic stability and could reduce to 6 months the length of stability studies as against 12 (ICH guideline) or 24 months (expiration date).

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