Survival of probitics in peanut butter, and their influences on selected foodborne bacterial pathogens in simulated gastrointestinal fluids
Klu, Yaa Asantewaa Kafui
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Most children in developing countries die before their 5th birthday from numerous causes including infectious diarrhea which presents the second highest number of deaths. In recent years, the administration of probiotics is being used as an adjuvant therapy with rehydration and nutritional intervention for the management of diarrhea. Probiotic bacteria need a suitable food matrix as carrier to exert the proposed health benefits when ingested. This study was undertaken to determine the survivability of four selected commercial probiotic products in full-fat peanut butter and reduced-fat peanut butter during a year-long storage study at 4, 25 or 37 °C. Additionally, the ability of the probiotics in peanut butter to survive simulated gastrointestinal conditions and eventually inhibit the growth of Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes was studied. It was observed that a higher temperature of 37 °C was more detrimental to probiotic viability and a single probiotic strain had a significantly lower survival rate compared to multiple probiotic strain mixture. It was also observed that within a multi-strain probiotic product, probiotic survival during storage was strain specific. In general, Bifidobacterium species used in the study had a better survival rate than Lactobacillus and Streptococcus/Lactococcus. In a 6 h assay, peanut butter had a significant protective effect on the viability of probiotic bacteria when they were exposed to simulated gastrointestinal conditions. Additionally, probiotics in the peanut butter survived simulated gastrointestinal study and they were able to inhibit the growth of S. enterica and L. monocytogenes in a 24 h study under simulated gastrointestinal conditions. Furthermore, the fat content of full-fat peanut butter did not exhibit a significant protective effect for probiotics during storage or simulated gastrointestinal passage. Results of the study suggest that peanut butter, either full-fat or reduced-fat is an appropriate vehicle to carry probiotics to children prone to diarrhea.