• gellan;
  • alginate;
  • microencapsulation;
  • B. bifidum;
  • sequential quadratic programming (SQP);
  • response surface methodology (RSM)


The purpose of this research was to encapsulate Bifidobacterium bifidum using gellan, sodium alginate and prebiotics as coating materials, and to maximize the thermotolerance of the probiotics with an optimal combination of the coating materials. The optimal ratio of the coating materials for the microparticles under heat treatments (75°C, 1 min) was obtained by using the response surface method and the sequential quadratic programming technique. Optimization results indicated that 2% sodium alginate mixed with 1% gellan gum as coating materials would produce the highest thermotolerance in terms of B. bifidum count. The verification experiment yielded a result close to the predicted values, with no significant difference (P > 0.05). The results of heat treatments also demonstrated that the addition of gellan gum in the walls of probiotic microcapsules provided improved protection for B. bifidum. These probiotic counts remained at 105–106 CFU/g for the microcapsules stored for 2 months, then treated in heat and in simulated gastric fluid. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2007;98: 411–419. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.