Industry insights: Staying ahead in postbiotics

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages - fermentation tank / xijian
GettyImages - fermentation tank / xijian

Related tags Probiotics Fermentation Gut health Yeast phytase microbes

Gerald Dard, managing director of AB Biotek Human Nutrition and Health (HNH), speaks to NutraIngredients about postbiotic innovation, adaptation, and what’s to come.

Founded in 2019 as a sub-division of functional ingredients supplier ABFI, AB Biotek supplies fermented yeast postbiotics, which are resistant to the stresses of the gastric environment and can create a strong barrier against bacterial pathogens.

Research has shown​ that fermented yeast postbiotics may have beneficial effects on the human body, such as improving gut health, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation.

Adapting 

Dard explains that the postbiotic industry is in a good position to be able to adapt. He states: “The postbiotics industry continues to change tremendously. We must address the need of the food industry to add more value to the food items or the beverages, in the sense of having an impact on the health issues of individuals.”

Dard explains that the company is innovating around the increasing consumer interest in functional foods which fit in with daily routines. He says: “People nowadays, not only want to find pleasure in their food, but they also want a way in which food will help them to age nicely, and therefore they want to see the inclusion of important nutrients. 

“For us, the challenge is to understand the different types of food metrics existing, which comes with challenges related to the processes of this food matrix.” 

Synergistic ingredients

Dard explains that synergistic ingredients is where the team at AB Biotek HNH focus their attention, stating: “We put a lot into recreating and understanding the gut biosystems and understanding mechanism of actions.

“We use a lot of resources on clinical studies to investigate synergistic effects and understand mechanism of affections.

“We have identified very unique postbiotic based solutions and have accelerated developments of combination postbiotics to offer ad-hoc solutions.”

Dard elaborates, saying AB Biotek’s offerings are also formed around necessity, stating: “We permanently tailor-make solutions based on [consumer] expectations and parameters.”

He gives the example of increasing consumer interest in plant-based diets, and how it has informed AB Biotek’s research.

He explained the company is now working to combine ingredients to help consumers get the most nutrition out of their diets. One ingredient they are utilising is phytase, a natural chemical found in microbes which helps the body to absorb nutrients via its ability to break down the natural chemical phytic acid, found in many plant-based foods. Phytic acid can bind to important minerals like iron and zinc, stopping the body from absorbing them properly.

He hints at a new product, stating: “There’s a tailored offering on which we are working, and it is quite promising. We might come up with a product very soon on the market.”

Staying ahead 

Staying ahead of the curve isn’t always easy, but as Dard points out, they benefit technologically from being part of a bigger company. He says: “As a division of AB Mauri, we have some of the most efficient facilities in the world for yeast fermentation. So, in essence, this is guaranteeing that we are always on top of the best technologies.

“We have advanced fermentation experts, fondly nicknamed ‘yeasties’, in multiple continents which permanently optimise our processes and look at new yeast species.”

He knows that isn’t enough to secure stability in the industry and when it comes to dealing with competition, he says the key is to stay in the know.

“We participate in trade shows so that keeps us plugged into what is happening with our peers.

“It’s also a great way to also keep pace with the demand and understand what your customers are expressing as unmet needs, and then how it can trigger your choices in terms of technology.”

Ultimately though, Dard recognises their success in the industry is largely thanks to their innovative practices and abilities to collaborate.

He recounts: “We have a very large network of centres of excellence on which we're leveraging other technologies or people who are leading in.

“We’re not trying to build everything in-house; we like to collaborate and that keeps us up to date on the best technologies to make us more efficient in developing new products.”

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