ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to develop a method for applying an extra coating of palm oil and poly-L-lysine (POPL) to alginate (ALG) microcapsules to enhance the survival of probiotic bacteria. Eight strains of probiotic bacteria including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, L. salivarius, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, L. paracasei, B. lactis type Bl-O4, and B. lactis type Bi-07 were encapsulated using alginate alone or alginate with POPL. Electron microscopy was used to measure the size of the microcapsules and to determine their surface texture. To assess if the addition of POPL improved the viability of probiotic bacteria in acidic conditions, both ALG and POPL microcapsules were inoculated into pH 2.0 MRS broths and their viability was assessed over a 2-h incubation period. Two bile salts including oxgall bile salt and taurocholic acid were used to test the bile tolerance of probiotic bacteria entrapped in ALG and POPL microcapsules. To assess the porosity and the ability of the microcapsule to hold small molecules in an aqueous environment a water-soluble fluorescent dye, 6-carboxyflourescin (6 FAM), was encapsulated and its release was monitored using a UV spectrophotometer.
The results indicated that coating the microcapsules with POPL increased the overall size of the capsules by an average of 3 μm ± 0.67. However, microcapsules with added POPL had a much smoother surface texture when examined under an electron microscope. The results also indicated that the addition of POPL to microcapsules improved the average viability of probiotic bacteria by > 1 log CFU/mL when compared to ALG microcapsules at 2 h of exposure to acidic conditions. However, similar plate counts were observed between ALG and POPL microcapsules when exposed to bile salts. This suggests that an extra coating of POPL could be readily broken down by bile salts that are commonly found in the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Upon testing the porosity of the microcapsules, findings suggest that POPL microcapsules were less porous and hold 52.2% more fluorescent dye over a 6-wk storage period.