At NIZO we help our customers to select, screen and identify desired new functional strains, modulators or formulations for the development of new (clean label) fermented dairy & non-dairy products. Use of new strains or other formulations can increase the shelf life and/or safety of the food products or reduce costs of the production process. Optimizing these processing conditions can lead to a significant cost reduction.

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Tailoring funcionalities during fermentation for dairy alternative fermented foods

We are facing challenges in the world, which strongly drive the innovation of foods. One of the drivers is the increasing demand from consumers for more sustainable food products. Changing from animal-based proteins towards plant-based proteins can increase the sustainability of foods. For this, innovations are necessary as animal-based proteins cannot be directly replaced by plant-based proteins due to different characteristics. Fermentation can therefore be used as a powerful tool to alter these characteristics.

To identify the right functional strains or product formulation we employ a wide range of research tools that allow for selection and identification of strains/formulations and storage or fermentation conditions. The tools available at NIZO consist of:

  • The NIZO culture collectiona resource for identifying / selecting strains of interest
  • Genomics and proteomics platforms
    assessing strain functionality, safety and validating predictions using genome sequence information
  • Micro-platforms
    for high throughput in product screening and analysis under real food (processing) conditions. The Micro-platforms have been developed for a range of foods and drinks and recently even for feed applications. NIZO has even developed a system that allows testing of the efficacy of prebiotics and probiotics in a specialized MicroColon System
  • Industrial scaling
    The NIZO micro-models are made designed with the industrially sized process in mind, Therefore after use of the MicroModels in a screening initiative the process can then be quickly scaled to a large scale proves.

The NIZO culture collection

NIZO possesses a large culture collection containing thousands of foodgrade microorganisms that are available for screening for desired properties, e.g. formation of clean label ingredients affecting flavor and texture, antimicrobial compounds, vitamins etc. This culture collection is an excellent source for new production organisms. At NIZO we select and exclusively license strains for our customers that have the desired properties.

Microplatforms

Our high throughput screening options maximize chances of identifying the best bacterial strain, formulation or processing condition for the specific application that our customer is looking for. At NIZO, we have developed several in products screening platforms, that allowing screening of a large number of test conditions which adequately mimic our customers’ products. Currently we offer a range of MicroSystems (see table of our in-product screening models).

The NIZO MicroModels are designed and validated with the industrially scaled process in mind. Therefore NIZO will assist you with the scale-up of the process and the subsequent technology transfer to your factory.

These screening microplatforms provide detailed information for:
· Selecting the microbe best adapted to your substrate
· Characterization of your culture collection
· Tailoring of fermentation flavors in your product
· Potential starters for new products and product diversification
· Fast and reliable results that are translatable to upscaling and pilot trials

Efficacy of Prebiotics And Probiotics

New potential probiotics and prebiotics are identified on a daily basis and it is practically impossible to test all these bacteria and compounds in clinical trials. At NIZO we use the MicroColon system to help our customers to rapidly benchmark their new ingredient, or select the most promising ingredient(s) from large panels of compounds, so they can start preclinical research with a limited number of ingredients.

The MicroColon system can be used to pre-select bacteria and/or compounds with the highest potential of exerting a probiotic and/or prebiotic function. It allows high-throughput screening of novel ingredients and probiotics for their efficacy in the gastrointestinal tract.

The MicroColon is a model of the human gut which is inoculated with faecal slurries derived from either infants or adults and, when desired, can be spiked with specific pathogens of interest to our customers. A fermentation medium and conditions mimicking the human gastrointestinal tract ensure an effective translation of the microbiome response to follow up preclinical studies. We are able to take samples from the microColon and routinely perform DNA isolations to perform qPCR analyses or microbiome profiling to monitor specific species or full microbiota composition, and analyses of organic acids.

Any questions?

Ioana Iorga is happy to answer all your questions.

Meet Ioana Iorga