Probiotics production, from cell to shelf
Compiling a library of strains
It all starts with a few bacteria from the cell bank. Vials are kept at -80°C to guarantee genetic stability during long periods. Cell bank vials are thawed and several quality controls processes are conducted in order to ensure that the strains are free of any contaminants and their genetic.
A strain specific culture medium rich in nutrients is prepared under sterile conditions.
The inoculum is gradually introduced in the adapted culture medium: the bacteria becomes activated and start to multiply.
Pre-fermentation and fermentation
Once the quality and purity of the inoculum is checked, it is transferred under sterile conditions to a pre-fermentor, where growth conditions are continuously monitored (pH, temperature, pressure…). The culture is then transferred to industrial fermentor.
Centrifugation or ultra-filtration
Live bacteria are then separated from the culture medium by centrifugation or ultra-filtration: around 75% of water is removed at this stage, resulting in 50-100 times concentration of the live bacteria. The bacteria are then mixed with an adapted cryprotective formula, to help them survive the freeze-drying process.
During freeze-drying, bacteria are exposed to a very low temperature and the remaining water is eliminated by sublimation (passage from solid to gaseous phase without liquid intermediary) under low pressure. Bacteria form a solid “cake”, containing 2-4% water.
The solid cake is milled to obtain a fine, homogeneous powder. Each grain of powder may contain 1 billion of bacteria. This powder can be either delivered as bulk bacteria culture or further blended, in order to obtain the desired formulation.
Bacteria powders can be blended together with other ingredients, as well as carriers and diluents to obtain the desired bacteria concentration, under strict control of humidity and temperature.
Packaging is a critical point in bacteria survival. To ensure proper survival of the bacteria during the complete shelf-life of the finished products, Lallemand Health Solutions has developed a strong expertise in cost-effective packaging and can deliver all formulations under bulk powder, capsules, blisters, sachets, sticks, tablets, drops, orodispersible powders or bottles.