Date of Award

6-2013

Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering

Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor

Lily Laiho

Abstract

Probiotics are marketed throughout the world to promote the health of the consumer by improving the microorganisms that normally occur in the intestinal tract (Tannock, 1997). It has also been suggested that probiotics can prevent pathogen infections by adhering to the intestinal mucosa (Lee, Lim, Teng, Ouwehand, Tuomola, & Salminen, 2000). While probiotics can be delivered to the infected areas in multiple fashions, microencapsulation is a newer form of delivering probiotics straight to the infected area. A whey protein microcapsule is thought to protect the probiotics from stomach acid and delivers the treatment to the affected area. To ensure this microencapsulation treatment is affective, the microcapsules will be stained and imaged to see if the microcapsules are constructed in a way which is consistent with the theory: a whey protein microcapsule surrounding bacteria and fat droplets. Through these experiments, it was shown that the microcapsule was not constructed as previously thought. Instead of a thin layer of protein surrounding the bacteria, it more closely resembled a solid ball of protein with bacteria and fat trapped inside. The bacteria are able to survive stomach like conditions (0.1M HCl for 8 hours) due to other forms of microencapsulation.

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