PhD Research Project: Microstructure design for the delivery of probiotics
There is a growing interest in the inclusion of probiotics for foods to deliver live, good bacteria to the human GI tract. In order to achieve the delivery of live bacteria, it needs to be incorporated into the food structure without damage, and then protected from the digestive environment of the mouth, stomach and small intestine (e.g. acidic, enzymatic etc.).
The aim of this project is to investigate ways to incorporate the friendly bacteria into the food microstructure so that they are protected until they arrive at the large intestine. In order to achieve this, the bacteria will need to be inside structures (such as gels, emulsions, and double emulsions) that retain their viability while the food is being stored, and reduce the impact of the digestive processes.
Areas to be investigated:
• Ability to include live bacteria into food microstructures, i.e. build the food microstructure in a way that does not cause stress to the cells. Investigate a range of different hydrocolloids that can be used, and different processing parameters (e.g. temperature control, shear rates etc.) for successful cell survival.
• Investigate the effect of the bacteria on the properties of the hydrocolloid gel system (e.g. rheology).
• Design food microstructures that protect the cells in both storage and digestion.
• Investigate how the microstructures are affected by the digestive environment, and how the cells can be delivered to the microflora, so that they can be retained in the large intestine.
Funding available for EU/UK students only. Applicants should have obtained an Honours Degree or equivalent at 2.1 or above in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or related disciplines.
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