Probiotic Encapsulation for Extended Viability in GI Track

Reifen Ram, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition



Agriculture, Life Science, Biotech (Formulation), Veterinary and Animal Science(animal farm management)


Lactic acid bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, natural encapsulation, probiotics

Current development stage

General list: TRL2  Technology Concept Formulated       

Collaboration Opportunity

Sponsored Research with an option to License Research Results



Probiotics are thought to have various beneficial effects on mammalian hosts. When live probiotics are consumed, they are thought to reduce intestinal colonization by pathogens. However, probiotics cells must survive processing, storage, and passage through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). These processes reduce their vitality and viability.

Additionally, live microorganisms can also be used to impart benefits outside of human health, namely, agriculture and veterinary application. In these applications, the microorganisms are also challenged by various industrial processes such as drying, storage, and environmental conditions.

Our Innovation

By encapsulating probiotic bacteria in a natural and biodegradable shell, it is possible to enhance their survivability throughout various conditions. The researchers employ an all-natural extracellular matrix produced by the Bacilli cells to protect probiotic lactic acid bacteria. This platform technology allows for developing protected-probiotics with the following advantages:

Enhanced survivability of probiotic cells up to 10,000-fold

Antagonistic activity against a wide spectrum of pathogenic species

Stability and robustness of the physiological system for generating multispecies probiotic community


By using a multispecies biofilm approach, we induce production of protective extracellular matrix shell around the probiotic bacterium. Furthermore, the system facilitates crosstalk between the symbiotic bacteria inducing a robust antagonistic activity against pathogenic species, hence it provides a platform for developing novel probiotic treatments.

Proof of Concept

A novel cultivation system has been developed that enables co-culturing different probiotic Bacilli through increasing the protective matrix production. The survivability of live-encapsulated probiotic cells was increased by several magnitudes during the desiccation process and passage through the GIT using an in vitro digestion model. Additionally, our antimicrobial analysis identifies antagonistic potential of this probiotic bacteria against different pathogenic species.


The researchers are looking for partners for implementing the technology in either feed or food industry. Clinical applications for naturally encapsulating probiotic cells could  also be considered. The technology is available for licensing.

Patent Position

Patent Position (Yissum Ref#6824-06): USA Allowed 2019-0216124-A1

Scientific Articles

Biofilm Formation onto Starch Fibres by Bacillus Subtilis Governs its Successful Adaptation to Chickpea Milk


Role of Probiotic Bacilli in Developing Symbiotic Food: Challenges and Opportunities


Encapsulation of Beneficial Probiotic Bacteria in Extracellular Matrix from Biofilm-forming Bacillus Subtilis


Contact for more information:

Ilya Pittel
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