Encapsulation of beneficial probiotic bacteria in extracellular matrix from biofilm-forming Bacillus subtilis

Sagit Yahav, Zipi Berkovich, Ievgeniia Ostrov, Ram Reifen, Moshe Shemesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Probiotics, live microbial supplements, are often incorporated into foods and beverages to provide putative health benefits. To ensure their beneficial effects, these organisms must survive processing and storage of food, its passage through the upper gastrointestinal tract (GIT), and subsequent chemical ingestion processes until they reach their target organ. However, there is considerable loss of viability of probiotic bacteria in the acidic conditions of the stomach and the high bile concentration in the small intestine. Bacillus subtilis, a spore-forming non-pathogenic bacterium, recently has gained interest in its probiotic properties; it can effectively maintain a favorable balance of microflora in the GIT. In addition, B. subtilis produces an extracellular matrix that protects it from stressful environments. We suggested that the extracellular matrix produced by B. subtilis could protect other probiotic bacteria and therefore potentially could be used as a vehicle for delivering viable probiotic cells to humans. Therefore, we developed a novel cultivation system that enables co-culturing of B. subtilis along with probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) by increasing production of the extracellular matrix by B. subtilis cells. Moreover, we showed that B. subtilis improved survivability of LAB during food preparation, storage and ingestion. Therefore, we believe that the results of our study will provide a novel technique of using a natural system for preservation and delivery of probiotics to humans.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)974-982
Number of pages9
JournalArtificial Cells, Nanomedicine and Biotechnology
Issue numbersup2
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • B. subtilis
  • Natural encapsulation
  • biofilm
  • lactic acid bacteria
  • probiotics


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