Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. The two main genera of microorganisms indicated as sources of probiotic bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Historically used to produce fermented dairy products, certain strains of both genera are increasingly utilised to formulate other functional foods. As the consumers' understanding of the role of probiotics in health grows, so does the popularity of food containing them. The result of this phenomenon is an increase in the number of probiotic foods available for public consumption, including a rapidly-emerging variety of probioticcontaining non-dairy beverages, which provide a convenient way to improve and maintain health. However, the composition of non-dairy probiotic beverages can pose specific challenges to the survival of the health conferring microorganisms. To overcome these challenges, strain selection and protection techniques play an integral part in formulating a stable product. This review discusses non-dairy probiotic beverages, characteristics of an optimal beverage, and commonly used probiotic strains, including spore-forming bacteria. It also examines the most recent developments in probiotic encapsulation technology with focus on nano-fibre formation as a means of protecting viable cells. Utilising bacteria's natural armour or creating barrier mechanisms via encapsulation technology will fuel development of stable non-dairy probiotic beverages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)