Probiotic and Prebiotic drinks – An overview

1. An Introduction to Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria, when consumed adequately confer good health benefits to the human body. Nowadays, humans have started to consume junk food that causes an accumulation of harmful bacteria that causes diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric inflammation, and other health issues, so in these cases, probiotics can help us maintain the gut microflora by destroying the harmful bacteria.

The food feeds probiotic bacteria and helps them to grow. Prebiotics can’t be digested by the human body. Prebiotics promotes the growth of the colonizing bacteria in the gut that are beneficial. Prebiotics help in maintaining normal bowel function i.e., Prebiotic fiber cause foods to be digested normally not quickly. Prebiotics help in preventing colon cancer by sweeping away carcinogens and dangerous toxins. Probiotic bacteria such as Bifidobacterium digest inulin in the gut and produce short-chain fatty acids.

2. How do probiotics work in the human gut?

To improve the human gut flora and destroy the bad bacteria the mechanism of probiotics includes:

        • Production of antimicrobials:

Production of antimicrobials such as organic acids (acetic acid and lactic acid are the main antimicrobial compounds responsible for the inhibitory activity of probiotics against pathogens). And the production of antibacterial substances termed bacteriocins.

        • Increased adhesion & inhibition of pathogen adhesion:

The interaction between surface proteins and mucins may inhibit the colonization of pathogenic bacteria and are a result of antagonistic activity by some strains of probiotics against the adhesion of gastrointestinal pathogens.

        • Enhancement of epithelial barrier:

The intestinal barrier is a major defense mechanism used to maintain epithelial integrity and to protect the organism from the environment. Consumption of non-pathogenic bacteria can contribute to intestinal barrier function, and probiotic bacteria have been extensively studied for their involvement in the maintenance of this barrier.

        • Modulation of the immune system:

These immunomodulatory effects are due to the interaction of probiotic bacteria with epithelial cells and Dendritic cells and with monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes.

        • Competitive exclusion of pathogenic bacteria:

When the probiotics are consumed the bacteria will compete with the pathogenic bacteria and destroy them by reducing the Ph and secreting the antimicrobials.

3. How do prebiotics help the probiotics & human body when they are consumed? 

        • Prebiotics help the probiotics to survive, by providing the required nutrition they need. That helps probiotic bacteria to grow and colonize the human intestinal gut.
        • Prebiotics Suppress the putrefactive bacteria because they act on the tissues and prebiotics stimulate the beneficial flora in the human gut creating unfavorable conditions for the pathogenic bacteria.
        • Dietary fibers act as effective prebiotics by stimulating main shifts indirectly affecting the mucosal immune system and gut microbial composition, causing an advancement in intestinal inflammatory disorders and the complete immune response.
        • SCFA are formed when the prebiotics are fermented in the large intestine that acts as carbon and energy sources for the probiotic bacteria.
        • As microbiota have been tangled in the pathogenesis of numerous GI disorders, for this purpose currently the research is focused on the practice of prebiotics. Since many of these polysaccharides can be metabolized by intestinal microflora, producing SCFA (including acetate, butyrate & propionate).

 4. Where do we find the probiotics and the products that are developed by the food industry?

In India, people with different cultures & regions have different cuisines. The best part is that every meal consists of fermented food such as dahi, lassi, tempeh, pickles, etc. These fermented foods have good probiotic bacteria good that help in maintaining good gut health. Some other products that contain probiotic bacteria are yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, etc. Due to the increase in population and work timings, people have habituated to instant things and food processing industries have developed probiotic products that are healthy & can be consumed instantly. The products that are available in the market are Yakult, epigamia yogurt, good belly, beyond berry, Dan active, etc.

Sources of prebiotics and the products that are available in the market

Sources of prebiotics are Oligosaccharides (garlic asparagus, soybean, wheat bran, etc), Fructans (powder from tubers of artichoke), Human kappa casein, and derived glycomacropeptide (chymotrypsin and pepsin hydrolysate), Stachyose and raffinose (soybean extract), Casein macro peptide (Bovine milk), Lactulose (a synthetic derivative of lactose).

And the products that are available in the market are VSL#3, Kiwi – lens, Prebiotic soups, Prebiotic nana flakes, Oli pop, Wonder drink, kevita prebiotic shots.

  1. What’s the deal with the prebiotic and probiotic drinks?

Probiotic drinks & prebiotic drinks became a trending topic in the market and have huge demand worldwide because of their health benefits. These drinks are available in nearby stores, and the labels of these drinks claim the benefits like “energy-boosting & detoxifying”. “Probiotics are not essential to our daily diet, but they are important in stronger immunity and healthful gut,” says the author Jackie, writer of “The with or without meat cookbook”.

The daily intake of food & beverages that have added nutrients and fortification functional foods including prebiotics is a global consumer trend. prebiotics can’t be digested and can improve the growth of probiotic bacteria. Besides the health benefits prebiotics are also used for enhancing the sensory features, lipid functionalities in low calories beverages & replace sugar.

      • Probiotics and prebiotic drinks do not improve the healthy immune system in minutes, but daily consumption may decrease GI bloat and help prevent constipation.
      • Prebiotics that are been incorporated in beverages mainly dairy industry are galactooligosaccharides, which are mostly used in dairy products & yogurts due to their stability in high water content & low Ph products, and the fructooligosaccharides used for instant beverages and they are more persistent on solid medium, these help in enhancing the products.
      • While these e beverages are beneficial for health, consuming probiotics ad other foods can cause throwing away the balance of the bacteria in the intestine.

6. Understanding the concepts of Symbiotic, Para probiotics & Postbiotics.

The technological advancement changed the thought process of this generation, that have been resulting in the development of new products with more effectiveness in usage & by improving health benefits.

The concept of synbiotics is “a combination of probiotics and prebiotics that have a good influence on the host’s health”. Combining probiotics and prebiotics is thought to be a promising new method, and there is currently a chance to test their efficacy and possible application in IBD in humans.

However, just a few studies supporting the use of synbiotic supplements in IBD have been published. In a study done by Ishikawa H et al., 2011 the combination of Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult and GOS is tested on 41 patients with active ulcerative colitis, and it resulted in the synbiotic group, there was a significant reduction in clinical and endoscopic UC activity, as well as a decrease in the level of myeloperoxidase in rectal lavages as disease activity increased.

And now there are para probiotics, in these products the inactivated bacterial strains, fragments are used for consumption when consumed adequately they confer good health benefits. The probiotics have live microbes that can be dangerous to people with low immunity, premature babies, and impaired intestinal barriers. Term Para probiotics are introduced by Taverntiti et al. in 2011.

Para probiotics hold the ability to regulate the immune systems, antiproliferative and antioxidant activities. Para probiotics can be administered to weaker immunity people and the elderly. These products are also characterized by greater stability and can be stored without the cold chain, thereby facilitating industrial handling and wide commercialization.

Postbiotics refer to the waste material produced by the probiotics after consuming the prebiotics i.e., As intestinal microbes consume prebiotic fiber, the result of that fermentation or consumption is what is known as postbiotics. Organic acids, short-chain fatty acids, tryptophan, and bacteriocins are the most important postbiotics. Using postbiotics may provide direct or indirect benefits.

The impact of postbiotics on the host cells results in direct advantages. Indirect effects include the support of the proliferation of beneficial microbial strains and the suppression of the formation of harmful strains. Later in the essay, the methods of action are described. Postbiotics have a wide range of effects, just as prebiotics, depending on the type of microorganism, strain, and metabolic product. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics of postbiotics, particularly SCFA, are the most important benefits.

7. Upshot

From the above information, we have got an overall idea of pro & prebiotic drinks, para probiotics, postbiotics & synbiotics. Every product has its advantages and disadvantages, overdosage of can create unfavorable situations in gut health. there is no instant medicine that can act on the immune system, regular consumption may result in the gradual improvement of health. For example, prebiotic fiber should be 20 grams daily if exceeds causes gastrointestinal problems, etc. And consumption of different foods at a time may change the gut flora and can throw away the required beneficial bacteria.

8. References

Biogas -A way out for Garbage

  1. Introduction

Biogas generation is an intriguing method for recovering nutrients and renewable energy from various organic waste sources. The technique might be used to make value-added compounds from mixed cultures, and it could also be used in integrated bioenergy production systems.

 Methane (50–75%) and carbon dioxide (25–50%) are the most common gases found in biogas, along with tiny amounts of other gases and water vapor. In the anaerobic digestion (AD) process, microbes degrade various organic materials to produce biogas. Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, cellulose, and hemicelluloses should all be present in the biomass inputs for a successful anaerobic digestion process. The carbohydrate, protein, and fat composition all affect the ultimate gas production. The biogas digestion process may be broken down into four stages. The metabolic transformation is carried out by various groups of microorganisms in each step.

The four phases are:

    • Hydrolysis: complex organic matter, such as proteins, is converted into simple soluble products, such as amino acids.
    • Hydrolysis: complex organic matter, such as proteins, is converted into simple soluble products, such as amino acids.
    • Acidogenesis: soluble products are converted to volatile fatty acids and CO2.
    • Acetogenesis: volatile fatty acids are converted to acetate and H2.
    • Methanogenesis: acetate and CO2 + H2 are converted to methane gas.

This ability has been used in man-made systems (bioreactors) to produce energy for centuries. Biogas is a good energy source that produces 5.5–7 kWh/m3, and the total energy is proportional to the amount of methane present.

  1. Working of biogas plant

 2.1. Raw Materials for Biogas

Organic input materials like food scraps, fats, and sludge can be used as substrates in a biogas plant. Renewable resources like maize, beets, and grass are used to feed both animals like cows and pigs and microorganisms in the biogas plant. The biogas facility also receives manure and feces.

2.2. Process of Biogas formation

The substrate is degraded by the microorganisms in the fermenter, which is heated to around 38-40°C and is light and oxygen-free. Biogas, primarily composed of methane, is the product of this fermentation process. However, biogas also contains strong hydrogen sulfide.

A stainless-steel fermenter has the distinct benefit of withstanding hydrogen sulfide assaults and remaining functional for decades. Furthermore, a stainless-steel fermenter allows the biogas plant to be operated in the thermophile temperature range (up to 56 °C). After fermentation, the substrate is carried to the fermentation leftovers end storage tank, where it may be recovered for future use.

 2.3. Handling byproducts

The leftovers can be used to make high-quality fertilizer. The benefit: Biogas manure has a reduced viscosity, which allows it to infiltrate the ground more rapidly. Furthermore, the fermentation byproduct frequently has a greater fertilizer value and is less smell strong.

However, drying it and utilizing it as a dry fertilizer is another alternative. The biogas produced is kept in the tank’s roof and then burnt to create electricity and heat in a combined heat and power plant (CHP). Electricity is immediately supplied to the electricity grid. The heat produced can be used to heat a structure, dry wood, or harvest items.

3. The basic factors that affect anaerobic digestion are

 3.1 .Temperature:

In this factor, a distinction is made between 3 different temperature regimes mesophilic (20 – 40 ºC), psychrophilic (10 – 20 ºC), and thermophilic (50 – 60 ºC). The lower the temperature, the slower the bacterial growth and conversion processes. Therefore, a longer retention time is needed.

        • In psychrophilic temperatures, the bacteria will be stable, and no additional heat is required but there will be low production of the biogas, the lowest pathogen reduction. The advantage is it is the least costly to construct and easiest to manage
        • In the mesophilic temperature range, in this range the bacteria are more stable than the thermophilic bacteria, they have a shorter retention time. There will be moderate management and moderate monitoring required. The drawbacks are that additional heat is required, there will be moderate pathogen reduction, and costly to construct.
        • And in the thermophilic temperature range, there is the shortest retention time, highest biogas production, and highest pathogen reduction. The disadvantages of these temperature ranges are, that the bacteria are least stable, additional heat is required for digestion, the monitoring should be intensive, most costly to construct, and hardest to manage.

 3.2 pH:

When compared to other pH range values, it has been experimentally proven that substrates with an optimal range value of pH 7 have a greater biogas generation yield and degradation efficiency. Because microorganism, particularly methanogens, is very sensitive to acidic ambient circumstances, the pH value plays a crucial role. As a result of the acidic environment, they are unable to thrive and produce methane. Increasing the pH value over 7.5 and approaching 8 can, on the other hand, lead to the growth of methanogens, which hinders the acetogenesis process. A particular quantity of buffer solution, such as CaCo3 or lime, is given to the system to keep the pH value in an equilibrium state. Although to produce a better production of biogas, the ideal pH value should be kept between 7.5 and 8.              

3.3. Composition of the food waste

Knowing the composition is necessary for predicting the reaction’s course and pace, as well as the amount of biogas produced. The bio-methanization potential or rate of methane generation is determined by four key concentrations: lipids, proteins, carbs, and cellulose. High lipid content AD systems have a high bio-methanization efficiency, but due to their complicated structure, they require a longer retention time. Proteins have the shortest retention time span, followed by carbs and cellulose. 

  1. Sources of biogas production

Biogas may be obtained in several different methods:

      • landfill sites.
      • wastewater treatment.
      • co-digestion of manure.
      • other sources. 

  1. What will the remaining Digested substrate be used for? 

Anaerobic digestion of organic materials results in the production of digestate in addition to biogas. After digestion, the latter is the substrate that remains. Because of its nitrogen concentration and the fertilizing effects of its flow characteristics, digestate is a desirable fertilizer. Anaerobic digestion can also inactivate weed seeds, germs, viruses, and other potential pathogens, especially when longer retention durations and higher temperature regimes are utilized.

6 . Biogas End Uses

Biogas may be utilized to heat buildings, power boilers, and even power the digester itself with little to no processing on-site. Biogas can be used in CHP systems or simply converted to electricity via a combustion engine, fuel cell, or gas turbine, with the resulting electricity being used on-site or sold to the grid.

Digestate is the nutrient-dense solid or liquid that remains after digestion; it contains all the recycling nutrients included in the original organic material, but in a form that is more readily available to plants and soil builders. The feedstock used in the digester will determine the digestate’s composition and nutritional value. Liquid digestate may be sprayed on farms as a fertilizer, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Solid digestate can be used as cow bedding or composted after mild processing. To assure digestate safety and quality control, the biogas industry has lately taken steps to develop a digestate certification framework.

6.1 Renewable Natural Gas

Biomethane, also known as renewable natural gas (RNG), is biogas that has been purified to remove CO2, water vapor, and other trace gases to fulfill natural gas market requirements. Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) may be injected into the existing natural gas system (including pipelines) and utilized in place of conventional natural gas. The remaining natural gas is utilized for commercial and industrial applications (heating and cooking).

6.2 Compressed Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas

Renewable Natural Gas may be converted to compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) for use as a motor fuel, much like regular natural gas (LNG). CNG-powered vehicles are equivalent to gasoline-powered vehicles in terms of fuel economy, and they may be used in light- to heavy-duty vehicles. LNG is not as widely used as CNG because it is more expensive to produce and store, even though its higher density makes it better fuel for heavy-duty vehicles driving long distances. CNG and LNG are most suited for fleet vehicles that return to a base for refilling, allowing fueling infrastructure expenditures to be maximized.

7.  References

Shelf life study of spices 

1. Introduction

Spices are seed, fruit ,bark or leaves that are used for colouring and for flavouring purposes. Spices are available in the form of Raw, whole & pre-ground forms. Spices are used according to convenience purpose. Some spices are used for rituals & medicinal purpose .From the olden times people have been noticed to that spices help to boost immunity . And they  have health benefits In reducing  such as inflammatory, cancer and cardio vascular diseases etc. Due to good health benefits the spices are sold expensive. The population has increased drastically and of course it resulted in  increasing consumption , production & storage of spices.

Shelf life can be defined as the period of time where the product is safe and good for consumption  after the packaging  .The shelf life depends on the type of the product for example some products can be expired within a week and some may stay upto 2 -3 years.

2.Why shelf-life is importance?

Shelf life study of products varies on the type of the food product .During the shelf  life span, the food product  should remain safe .The manufacturing date and expiry date is mentioned on every packaged product .

Based on that the consumer will decide .If the food is spoiled before the expiry date ,it indicates that there is contaminated during processing such kind of products are been recalled by company. Based on the shelf life of product the consumers use food product .Shelf life is important factor because it indicate safe consumption of the food product. Its not that after the expiry date the product is totally spoiled or make you sick ,the quality, the flavour and texture of the product starts deteriorating .These does not give the required mouthfeel that we expect.

 3 . How to know spices went bad?

On traditional sense ,spices doesn’t expire when stored properly but the flavour and aroma are decreased . To know the whole spices are good we can sense it by smelling or crushing the spices . If the flavour does not give the proper aromatic feel then it is time to replace the spices with fresh ones .And if the spices are kept in humid area there may be chances of early spoilage because due to moisture there will be mould growth that causes odd flavours. When spices are not kept properly they are attacked by insects and other organisms that causes decrease in shelf life and by making them unfit for consumption.

4. Factors influencing shelf life of the spices.

There are  two factors that influence shelf life of spices during storage period. They are Intrinsic and Extrinsic factors-

      • Intrinsic factors : Factors that are inborn within the food and can not be controlled. The intrinsic factors are moisture content, water activity, sugar content, pH, salt content, nutrient content, and oxidation potential.
      • Extrinsic factors are the factors that can be controlled or changed .The extrinsic factors are Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP) and packaging materials, temperature, time, chemical preservatives, processing methods.

5.  Major issues/Defects in spices:

The defects in spices are Defects in these products may be grouped as :

      • Damaged due to insect infestation- The spices are contaminated by insects in the farm, while harvesting and during storage. The insect pests include, coleoptera, lepidopetra, hemipetra  The examples of insect infestation ranges from excreta, frass, evidence  of surface feeding and webbing.
      • contamination by animals-Bird droppings and other animals feces are found.
      • Mould development-The spices are attacked in the farm or while storage .Fungi easily attack the spices in linited moisture conditions.
      • Contamination by extraneous material- Contamination by stones, cigarette butts ,stones during processing  and storage conditions.

6. How to store spices for maximum shelf-life?

The shelf life of the spices depend on the form of the product .For example the powdered or ground spices can be stored upto 1 year ,whereas the whole spices can be stored up to 3years.

      • Basic way to increase the shelf life of spices by minimizing the contact or exposure to sunlight, heat, moisture, air. These can minimize the spoilage.
      • Spices should be packed in tightly sealed containers & non porous containers .The best option to store in ceramic& glass containers because they prevent air & moisture that will increase shelf life of spices.
      • Although the popular used item is plastic container ,but they are not perfectly air tight ,and plastic containers are difficult to clean because they absorb colors  & odor.
      • Other viable options are tin and stainless steel . It is important that these containers are to be stored away from heat because they are heat conductive .
      • Spices like chilli and pepper retain colour if longer kept under refrigerated conditions.

      • If there is any spice that is damaged should be removed quickly in order to prevent the spoilage of other spices.
      • While removing the spices from containers they should be removed with any dry utensils in order to prevent moisture that cause mould growth.
      • For traditional packaging of spices, jute bags are used or depending on the value of the spices, A twill, DW and B twill gunny bags are used .And for better protection of the product double jute bags ,multiwall paper sacks ,or paper bags are used , but these can absorb moisture from the environment .So in such situation, HDPE,PP Woven sacks or polyethylene lined jute bags are advised for use.
      • For ground spices the packaging materials used are PP woven, HDPE ,multiwall paper bags, lined textile sacks  ,glass or metal containers .

7. Legal requirements :

The major clause, in accordance with the new guidelines, states that no food item will be permitted unless it has a 60 percent shelf life remaining after customs clearance. The Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2016, will take effect once they are published in the Official Gazette, according to the FSSAI.

Food items with less than 60 percent of their shelf life left at the time of clearing will not be cleared from the customs area

8. References :

Food Auditor- In Food Manufacturing Facility

  1. Introduction

An Auditor is a professional who understands standards & principles of auditing a food safety, HACCP based system and train client employees on food safety. Internal audits can be useful for the business to assess whether or not it is meeting regulatory requirements and ensure complying to all the SOP or guidelines.

There are three levels of food safety auditors recommended in the audit system. The Associate Food Safety Auditor, the Food Safety Auditor, and the Senior Food Safety Auditor. The basic difference between these levels is the amount of audit and industry experience required for each. All levels must be able to demonstrate appropriate competencies in auditing and food safety program development.

The role of the auditor:-

  • is to carry off audits in food industry,
  • to assess the requirements of the of the food safety standards and to report the outcomes of the audits and assessments to the enforcement agency.
  • obtain certifications to certain food safety and quality standards.
  • asses the condition of the premises and products.
  • confirm legal compliance.
  • maintain confidentiality of food safety audit.
  1. Requirement

Nowadays, the interest of the consumers on food quality and safety has triggered and that inculcated to develop a variety of food safety and quality standards in public and private food sectors. These standards have both advantages and disadvantages that varies on different factors for these reason skills of the auditor is used.

In food industry auditors are required to check and follow the legal procedures, certification procedures and certification requirements. And auditor posses’ good knowledge on assessment procedures and asses the relevant documents that helps to identify minor mistakes that will help to avoid mistakes next time. Auditor asses the competence of the organization to provide products, processes, or services in its certified scope. Auditor will have the good communication on the required languages that will help to guide the production and maintenance workers. They have the technical knowledge of the specific activities for which certification is sought and where the relevant procedures are and their potential for failure.

  1. Responsibility

The auditor’s job is to conduct food safety programme audits and assessments, as well as to assess business compliance with food safety programme requirements and the Food Safety Standards, and then to submit the results of the audits and assessments to the enforcement agency. When a food business’s food safety programme fails to produce safe food, the enforcement agency is responsible for implementing appropriate enforcement measures.

For an audit to be successful, the auditor/audit team must have a thorough understanding of the audit process as well as the necessary skills and experience as auditors. The training and experience of a food safety auditor must be considered when evaluating their competency. As a result, successful completion of accredited training would be considered sufficient. Auditors will need to present documentation of audits conducted to meet the applicable audit experience requirements. This could include a log of audits completed, which has been validated by food firms.

Some of the responsibilities of food auditor are as follows:

  • To develop a food safety programme for the food industry.
  • To check in place food safety programme
  • To check food processing techniques, handling practices, and support programs.
  • To check, observe and identifying the hazards that are expected to occur, and establish appropriate methods of control. This includes validating existing control methods and when there is no adequate control method in place, they establish an appropriate method.
  • Establishing the procedures for applying the precautionary action. Typically, this includes review of processes, materials and or food handling procedures. It may require revision of factory procedures and documentation such as specifications, approved supplier programs and operating procedures.
  • To describe the supervising requirements for food safety hazard. It includes explanation of the method or technique to be followed. Procedures selected followed would typically be specific in the form of a standard operating procedure or work training
  • The corrective actions are described of the acceptable limits or requirements are not up to the mark. When the corrective actions are applied the person assessing the corrective action should record the information.
  • The documentation related to the design and the maintenance of food safety program should be developed. It includes tables, support program requirements, data analysis report, corrective action reports, verification reports and hazard analysis .this will be on the nature of the business.
  • Developing a plan for frequent review of the safety program. The review plan must meet food safety legislation/regulations to certify that the food safety program is up to date and satisfactory. Any change that could affect food safety should trigger a review and validation prior to change being introduced. The plan should provide review by an authorized food safety auditor at the regulated frequency
  • Establishing action required if the results of verification that indicate the program requirements that the original program was inadequate
  1. Imapct on Food Industry

It has been seen, the sudden changes in food industry during this pandemic that drastically effected different sectors in food industry things.  The sites that provide product & services to the food industry have faced sudden declines in demand, while other sites providing product and services to retailers have never been busier.  Each of these situations create a disturbance in the food industry, creating audits as an important part for the food safety chain.

Rapid increase in production, industry must recruit and train new and temporary employees. Audits in the food industry are mandatory to ensure the new recruits are following the food safety programs and to know the effect of safety on finished food products. When the production increases that can lead to not giving priority to pre-requisite programs such as sanitation and preventive maintenance. Because of the reduced time allocated for both the programs can lead to improper sanitation and preventive maintenance that could be the result of microbiological and foreign contamination risks. By conducting food safety audits and implementation of food safety programs risks can be minimized and the recalls averted.  Food audits can help to identify areas where the programs may need additional attention that helps to recognize weakness that can be prevented from becoming big.

  1. References: