• biscuits;
  • cold gelation;
  • cranberry frozen juice;
  • encapsulation;
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus;
  • probiotic bacteria;
  • survival;
  • vegetable juice;
  • whey protein

ABSTRACT:  The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of whey protein isolate (WPI) gel microentrapment on the viability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus R011 during the production and storage of biscuits, frozen cranberry juice, and vegetable juice. Viability of microentrapped (ME) cells was compared to free cells freeze-dried in a milk-based protective solution as well as in a WPI-based solution (ungelled). During the production of biscuits and their storage for 2 wk at 23 °C, the highest stability was obtained with the cells ME in WPI gel particles. However, free cells prepared in the milk-based matrix were those that maintained the highest viability during storage of vegetable juice as well as during freezing and storage of cranberry juice. The culture prepared in a WPI-based solution had the highest drops in viable counts following the heating process of biscuits as well as during storage of vegetable juice and freezing and storage of cranberry juice. Although the WPI-based solution was not efficient in protecting free cells, it is concluded that the process of microentrapment in WPI can help in protecting the freeze-dried cells against subsequent acidic and alkaline pH conditions as well as heating and freezing of food products.