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Do Probiotic Foods and Beverages Need to be Refrigerated?

Let’s dig deeper into the importance of probiotic survivability. Probiotics debuted commercially in dairy products, so it’s understandable that there is a close association between the two. In fact, in some ways this relationship is very much a marriage of convenience. Most strains of probiotic bacteria need to be refrigerated to survive, and therefore the dairy chiller is an obvious home for them. Product formulation has evolved, however, and with the right strain selection, it’s now possible to formulate innovative food and beverage products with probiotics—both dairy and non-dairy products alike.

Refrigeration May Not Be Required

As noted, two of the first probiotic strains to be used in fortifying food and beverages were Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, both of which require refrigeration to survive and avoid early germination in warm conditions. These two strains typically cannot be used in products that are shelf stable, frozen, heated or subjected to extreme manufacturing processes. Spore-forming probiotics, particularly BC30™  (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), can survive in most applications (with water activity of less than 0.7) without the need for refrigeration by staying dormant until they reach the digestive tract.

A Probiotic That Survives

BC30 brings product innovation opportunities by allowing manufacturers to go beyond traditional probiotic applications, such as dairy, and venture into other mainstream foods and beverages. New probiotic technology innovations and research have increased understanding of the usability of temperature-stable probiotic strains, but you must drill down and look at strain and quality data in order to understand if a strain can survive the manufacturing processes needed for a specific application.


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