Foods are carriers for the delivery of probiotics to the human body. In addition, foods help to buffer the probiotic through the gastrointestinal tract, regulate their colonization and contain other functional ingredients, such as bioactive components, which may interact with probiotics to alter their functionality and efficacy. The growth and survival of probiotics during gastric transit is affected by the physico-chemical properties of food carriers. Gastric acid, juices and bile tolerance, adherence to gastrointestinal epithelium and the acid production of probiotics are also affected by the food ingredients used in probiotic delivery. Same probiotic strains could vary in functional and technological properties in the presence of different food ingredients. Prebiotic food ingredients encourage the growth of probiotic bacteria. The appropriate combination of prebiotics and probiotics manifest higher potential for a synergistic effect. Originally, probiotic delivery was consistently associated with foods, particularly dairy foods. But nowadays, there is an increasing trend toward using probiotics in different food systems despite its original sources and even as nutraceuticals, such as in capsules. This changing trend in delivering probiotics may lead to a reduction in functional efficacy due to the exclusion of the potential synergistic effect of the food. Thus, selection of suitable food systems to deliver probiotics is a vital factor that should be considered in developing functional probiotic foods. This review focuses on information related to the effect of processed food products on functional efficacy of probiotics.
Food Research International Vol. 43, Issue 1, p. 1-7