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SHANGHAI, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Oral probiotic supplements are gaining increasing popularity as a non-invasive therapy to promote healthy gut microbiomes. However, their efficacy is rather uncertain due to low bacterial survival in the gut.
A Chinese research team has developed a mineral coating that may help these beneficial bacteria survive threats in manufacturing and in the alimentary tract, thus tackling the challenge of overall low availability of oral probiotic therapeutics.
The study, published in the latest edition of peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, described the calcium-based coating capable of protecting oral probiotics from exposure to stomach acids and threats in the manufacturing process such as oxygen, ultraviolet rays and ethanol.
The team, led by researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, drew inspiration from some living organisms' ability to create calcium-based shells.
They created a calcium carbonate coating using electrostatic interactions that mimic the mineral formation of biological tissues.
The ultra-resistant and self-removable coating is shown in the study to protect inflammation-reducing probiotics called Bacteroides fragilis from damage caused by oxygen, ultraviolet rays and ethanol.
Also, it can neutralize gastric and bile acids in the upper gastrointestinal tract, according to the study.
The researchers demonstrated the coating's viability when used for colitis treatment in mice.
They said the new material could serve as a versatile platform for preparing next-generation, multifunctional bacterial-based living oral bioagents for a broad variety of biomedical applications. ■