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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Internet de l'unité STLO Science et Technologie du Lait et de l'Oeuf

STLO Research Unit

My probiotics have superpowers !

Probiotics are beneficial food-grade bacteria that we would like to consume daily in high amounts, under a live form. Sadly, they are fragile and they experience massive cell death during 1) industrial process of production & storage and 2) transit through the digestive tract. We have found a way to give them superpowers, leading to yet unrevealed resistance towards industrial and digestive challenges.

We used sweet whey, a byproduct of cheese industry, to sustain growth of both lactic acid bacteria and dairy propionibacteria. Sweet whey was used at different concentrations (dry matter) as a culture medium. We sought enhanced toughness of probiotic bacteria.

We found:

- Lactic acid bacteria and dairy propionibacteria grow in normal and in hyperconcentrated sweet whey (2 to 8 times the usual concentration).

- Growth in hyperconcentrated sweet whey as culture medium leads to multistress tolerance acquisition.

- This is mediated by overexpression of key stress proteins and by accumulation of intracellular protective sugars (trehalose, glycogen) and polyphosphate in super-resistant probiotics.

- Probiotic bacteria, produced this way, survive much more than usual cultures, upon spray-drying, freeze-drying and digestive challenges.



Accumulation of protective sugars (black arrows, violet granules) and polyphosphate (white arrows, green granules) in super-resistant probiotics grown in 30% sweet whey.

We developed a simplified process, from growth to spray drying of probiotics, using sweet whey as a 2-in-1 medium to both culture and protect probiotics from injury, without harvesting and washing step. Spray-drying being far cheaper and more energy-efficient than freeze-drying, this work opens new perspectives for the sustainable development of new starter and probiotic preparations with enhanced robustness.





  • Suzhou Key Lab of Green Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Material Science, Soochow University, Suzhou Industrial Park 215123, Jiangsu, China

Read more

Huang, S., H. Rabah, J. Jardin, V. Briard-Bion, S. Parayre, M. B. Maillard, L. Y. Le, X. D. Chen, P. Schuck, R. Jeantet, and G. Jan. 2016. Hyperconcentrated Sweet Whey, a New Culture Medium That Enhances Propionibacterium freudenreichii Stress Tolerance. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 82:4641-4651. doi:10.1128/AEM.00748-16

Huang, S., C. Cauty, A. Dolivet, Y. Le Loir, X. D. Chen, P. Schuck, G. Jan, and R. Jeantet. 2016. Double use of highly-concentrated sweet whey to improve the biomass production and viability of spray-dried probiotic bacteria. Journal of Functional Foods 23:453-463.

Huang, S., S. Mejean, H. Rabah, A. Dolivet, Le Loir Y., X. D. Chen, G. Jan, R. Jeantet, and P. Schuck. 2016. Double use of concentrated sweet whey for growth and spray drying of probiotics: Towards maximal viability in pilot scale spray dryer. Journal of Food Engineering 196:11-17.

Yang, Y., S. Huang, J. Wang, G. Jan, R. Jeantet, and X. D. Chen. 2017. Mg2+ improves the thermotolerance of probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus casei Zhang and Lactobacillus plantarum P-8. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. doi: 10.1111/lam.12716.


Gwénaël Jan •

Romain Jeantet •

>>> To Research Team