The purpose of the project is to address and to overcome specific scientific and technological hurdles that impact on the performance of functional foods based on probiotic-prebiotic interactions. Such hurdles include the lack of strong knowledge on the primary factors for probiotic viability, stability and performance as well as on probiotic-prebiotic interactions. The project will systematically explore effects of processing on functionality of probiotics and on probiotic performance, apply selected processing techniques for prebiotic modification, and use the information generated for new process and product options.
The project has three general objectives:
- to systematically explore effects of processing on the functionality of probiotics and on the performance of prebiotics;
- to apply selected processing techniques for prebiotic modification to identify and optimise probiotic-prebiotic combinations;
- to use the information generated as the basis for new process and product options.
The five specific objectives are:
- to systematically consolidate quantitative data regarding physiological and processing effects on the viability of probiotic organisms;
- to acquire methodologically quantitative information on the processing induced stability of probiotic organisms;
- to evaluate the potential of prebiotic-probiotic interactions for favourable effects on probiotic performance within food matrices;
- to identify critical process parameters for targeted transformation and modification of prebiotics;
- to obtain sufficient knowledge on processing dependent and prebiotics supported probiotic functionality in food systems.
Expected achievements include the establishment of unique data sets that include the identification of critical process parameters for probiotics and prebiotics and results from systematic studies suggesting means to overcome existing process and product limitations. The compilation of protocols for probiotic performance, prebiotic function and probiotic-prebiotic interactions will also be provided. Further, it is expected to establish probiotic viability models and functionality biomarkers. In addition, it is attempted to achieve optimisation of probiotic viability, stability in culture and real food systems at pilot plant scale, generation and modification of unique prebiotics, of probiotic interactions and of environmentally and processing induced functionality of probiotics. Application of the expected results will lead to new process concepts for probiotics, for prebiotics and for probiotic-prebiotic combinations. Special emphasis of the development of product concept will be on cereal and dairy-based products and on the development and incorporation of unique plant based prebiotics for optimum interaction between prebiotics performance and probiotics function.