Prepared Foods September 6, 2005 eNewsletter

Table olives may serve as a carrier for delivering beneficial bacteria to humans, according to researchers from the Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council, Bari, Italy.

Probiotic foods contain healthy bacteria intended to promote microbial balance, inhibit pathogens and protect humans from gastrointestinal diseases.

Researchers also are investigating their role in reducing risk of cancer, preventing food allergies and alleviating symptoms of lactose intolerance.

The researchers studied survival rates of various strains of four probiotic bacteria -- Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. longum -- on table olives at room temperature. L. paracasei was noted for its survival on olives throughout the three-month experiment and was recovered from fecal samples in four out of five volunteers who consumed 10-15 olives per day for 10 days.

"The results reported here suggest that table olives are a suitable substrate for delivering probiotic species, since populations of L. paracasei, a strain selected for its potential probiotic characteristics assessed in vitro and for its lengthy survival on olives, were detected in the feces of human volunteers," said the researchers, writing in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

"This result meets one of the aims of the current research, that of finding new delivery systems ensuring the stability and viability of strains" (Lavermicocca P, Valerio F, Lonigro SL, et al., “Study of Adhesion and Survival of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria on Table Olives with the Aim of Formulating a New Probiotic Food.” Appl Environ Microbiol, 2005;71(8):4233-4240).

Source: Health Business Week