“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” the age-old quote by Hippocrates, is certainly the tenet of today. With the growing interest in self-care and integrative medicine coupled with our health embracing baby boomer population, recognition of the link between diet and health has become increasingly strengthened. As a result, the market for functional foods, or foods that promote health beyond providing basic nutrition, is flourishing. Within, the functional foods movement is the small but rapidly expanding arena of probiotics - live microbial food supplements that beneficially affect an individual by improving intestinal microbial balance. The consumers’ overwhelming interest in and demand for functional foods, including probiotics, make it imperative that health professionals stay abreast of the latest research findings and available products. The functional food market has been rapidly growing for the past years but the development of new products is still imperative due to the increasing demand for healthy, high quality foods associated to changes in consumers‟ life-style. Incorporation of probiotics into cereal-based products is therefore desirable since it can combine the healthy formulation of a cereal mixture, the added value of prebiotic ingredients, and the beneficial effects of the probiotic bacteria. Encapsulation techniques have been recently applied to protect probiotic cells from storage conditions in order to increase shelf-life of probiotic products and to overcome other technological hurdles such as the food production stresses. The aim of this research study was to develop process technology for a probiotic cereal bar by microencapsulating probiotics using the method of freeze drying and evaluating the viability of encapsulated probiotics in a cereal bar. A cereal mixture comprising of corn flakes, oat flakes, wheat bran were used to prepare cereal bar. The probiotic strains Lactobacillus casei (MTCC 1423), Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCDC 11), Lactobacillus plantarum (NCDC 414) and Bifidobacterium longum (F8) were microencapsulated using guar gum and xanthan gum as base materials for microencapsulation respectively. The microencapsulated probiotics were added to the cereal bar to a final concentration of 1010 CFU.g-1 of product. Viability above 108 CFU.g-1 was found in the formulated probiotic cereal bar after 3 weeks of storage. This study indicated that it is feasible to incorporate probiotic bacteria into a cereal bar product, but further studies are required to determine the product shelf-life, viability during gastrointestinal passage and to assure probiotic functionality. RATIONALE OF STUDY
The demand of functional food is increasing day by day due to constant health awareness and readily available information on usefulness of different diet and their direct link with health. The concept of functional foods includes foods or food ingredients that exert a beneficial effect on host health and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions. Increasing awareness of consumer health and interest in functional foods to achieve a healthy lifestyle has resulted in the need for food products with versatile health-benefiting properties.
Within, the functional foods movement is the small but rapidly expanding arena of probiotics – “live microbial food supplements that beneficially affect an individual by improving intestinal microbial balance.” Dairy foods, fermented and non-fermented, have played important roles in the diet of humans worldwide for thousands of years. Currently hundreds of probiotic dairy products are manufactured and consumed around the world; typical examples include pasteurized milk, ice-cream, fermented milks, cheeses and baby milk powder.
Dairy products are the main food carriers for probiotic bacteria to human. Limitations of these products such as the presence of allergens, high lactose and cholesterol contents, and...