Targeted delivery of probiotics to enhance gastrointestinal stability and intestinal colonisation
The aim of this work was to assess the viability of some commercial probiotics after exposure to gastric acid and the possibility of modifying these formulations for delivery into the distal parts of the intestines. Gastrointestinal tolerance testing was conducted for three commercial probiotics and an in-house freeze-dried Lactobacillus acidophilus strain. The contents of the commercial products and the in-house freeze-dried strain were then loaded into capsules for site-specific delivery into the colon using the Phloral® coating technology; the viability upon release was then ascertained. An assessment of the potential of these products to adhere to intestinal cells was also conducted. The results showed that all the commercial products contained the minimum number of probiotic strains as indicated on their respective packages. When gastric acid tolerance tests were performed on these products, all the commercial probiotics and the prepared freeze-dried strain demonstrated over 106 CFU reductions within 5 min. When these were encapsulated for site-specific delivery into the distal parts of the gut, viabilities of approximately 90% were obtained after these capsules had been initially deposited in gastric acid for 2 h. An evaluation of the ability of the probiotic formulations to adhere to intestinal cells demonstrated adhesion in the range 64–76% for the products evaluated. The need to target the delivery of probiotics into the intestines has been demonstrated here as this offers a greater potential for colonisation of the intestines once the harshness of the stomach has been overcome.