Alginate micro beads containing Lactobacillus kefiri (the principal bacteria present in the kefir probiotic drink) were produced by a novel technique based on dual aerosols spaying of alginate based solution and CaCl2 as cross linking agent. Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) has been also added to the alginate in order to change the physic-chemical properties (viscosity and permeability) of the microbeads. Calcium alginate and CMC are biopolymers that can be used for developing oral drug-delivery systems. These biopolymers have been reported to show a pH-dependent swelling behaviour. Calcium alginate and CMC have also been known to possess an excellent mucoadhesive property. The loaded microbeads have been characterized in terms of morphology, chemical composition and stability in different conditions mimicking the gastric environment. In this study, we demonstrate the feasibility of a continuous fabrication of alginate microbeads in a range of 50–70 μm size, encapsulating L. kefiri as active ingredient. The technique involves the use of a double aerosols of alginate based solution and CaCl2 as crosslinking agent. Moreover, the encapsulation process was proved to be effective and not detrimental to bacteria viability. At the same time, it was verified the protective efficacy of the microcapsules against the gastric environment using both SGF pH 1.2 (fasted state) and pH 2.2 (feed state).
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