04.02.2022 - Biomedicine, Healthcare

RSU develops new technology to produce ghost probiotics

Researchers at the Institute of Microbiology and Virology of Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) have developed a new technology to produce dead or ghost probiotic cells (paraprobiotics) from Lactobacillus Helveticus bacteria in laboratory conditions. They are currently studying their effects on the immune system.

Dead probiotics, or paraprobiotics, like living bacteria or probiotics, are used as raw materials to produce new functional foods or food supplements. Almost everyone has heard of sour milk products that contain live bacteria and have a positive effect on the intestinal microflora and thus boost immunity.

Live bacteria are very well known in the market and their effect on human health has been studied quite extensively. However, the process of producing products using live bacteria is complicated by the need to ensure the viability of the bacteria throughout the entire cycle, from production to consumption.

“If once in the human body, probiotics are no longer alive, they cannot have a positive effect on health,” explains Līga Žūka, a researcher and commercialization expert for the RSU project Improvement of Glycopeptide Isolation Technology and Studying of Their Immune-Modulating Properties.

“Scientists are therefore conducting new research to develop technology to produce dead and broken-down bacteria with immune-enhancing properties similar to, or even better than probiotics. The production process of the final product is less complex, which would be an advantage because there is no need to develop technologies to ensure the viability of the bacteria.”

The new technology for extracting dead probiotics that RSU researchers have developed has been validated in laboratory conditions. Research is ongoing to understand how these bacteria affect human immunity.

“We are studying how the dead probiotics we have produced affect cells under laboratory conditions (in cell cultures) and how they can potentially affect immune function, like whether or not they improve it, and in what way.

We need at least three more months to reach a scientifically sound conclusion,” explains Žūka.

Phase II of the project Improvement of Glycopeptide Isolation Technology and Studying of Their Immune-Modulating Properties is currently underway at the Institute of Microbiology and Virology, where experts from different fields are carrying out research and commercialization activities to bring the researchers’ discovery into the market. They are working on how to protect the intellectual property that emerges, researching global market trends and competitors, developing presentation materials on the new technology, and addressing entrepreneurs to obtain a license agreement.

The project is led by Vaira Saulīte, a leading researcher at RSU. The core of the team consists of Gundega Gulbe, a microbiologist and leading researcher, and biologists and researchers Ilze Blāķe and Liene Patetko who have experience in designing and performing in vitro cell culture experiments in mammalian cell and skin cell cultures, as well as in analyzing the data obtained.

“We are currently testing and validating different types of human immune cells under laboratory circumstances (in vitro) to see how our paraprobiotics affect the body’s immune responses. The results so far show that they have the ability to reduce inflammatory processes, which in turn could potentially help to reduce viral and bacterial reactions in the body,” explains Patetko.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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