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A process of drying probiotic bacteria

A bacteria production process (leavens, human and animal probiotics) under dry form thanks to a drying process based on direct atomisation on culture media.

Poudre de lait. © INRA, Picsfive - Fotolia
Updated on 12/02/2016
Published on 09/29/2016

Invention description

Probiotics market has a fast evolution these recent years and represents some tens of thousands of millions of dollars. This market knows an increasing interest by consumers of food products. Bacteria’s drying has been recognized like an efficient way to stabilize bacterial cells and extend conservation period for biologic products. Up to now, lyophilization is the current method to dry bacteria. Although process conditions (low temperature, water sublimation are considered as advantageous for the continuation of bacteria sustainability, its high cost and the low energetic efficiency are considered as an obstacle to a growing commercial demand for probiotic products.

Scientists of « Science and Technology of Milk and Eggs » research unit (STLO) have developed a process to prepare a probiotic powder which contains at least a probiotic bacterium in using a nutrient medium « two in one ».  Contrary to classic atomisation which needs a first step of microorganism culture on optimized medium (often non-food), followed by a flushing and a re-suspension in a new medium before a high temperature drying, the process is only based on a drying which is realized on medium culture with a food quality. Besides the productivity gain, this process simplification eliminates any risk of contamination during the intermediate steps. The culture medium developed is using whey, a by-product of the cheese industry which is abundant and inexpensive.

Industrial application

Probiotics production intended for animal and human food

licensing-out officer, Inra transfert:
Laure Akomia (+33 01 42 75 94 43)


  • The patent n°EP 15306465.4 protects the process for preparing a probiotic powder comprising at least one probiotic bacterium.