Probiota Pioneers: Purity-IQ IDs probiotics down to the strain
NutraIngredients-USA is sitting down with its Probiota Pioneers as part of a series that highlights the entrepreneurial science and tech startups that will be featured at Probiota Americas June 14-16 in Chicago.
Purity-IQ uses Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and PCR to determine the content and purity of a product at the molecular level. When it comes to identifying probiotics, the Probiota Pioneer leverages qPCR–a type of real-time PCR that provides strain-specific identification–to accurately determine the viable count of the microorganism.
Deleo de Leonardis, Purity-IQ’s CEO, said the company is working to make an impact on the industry by offering insights into transparency and integrity in products.
NutraIngredients-USA (NIU): How would you describe how your approach or ethos is treading a path or direction that no other firm has explored before?
Deleo de Leonardis (DdL): We have a singular focus; we provide authenticity services—we verify that what’s on the label is actually in the product. We do that by testing ingredients and products for identity, purity and consistency.
Our team of scientists and technologists are dedicated to providing top-tier product authentication methodologies. Our approach combines both genomic and metabolomic techniques to achieve the highest level of accuracy.
Our team of experts has adapted existing technologies and created new protocols to test probiotics and dietary supplements. Through a partnership with our clients, we work collaboratively to thoroughly characterize their products and ensure proper authentication. While we have established methods for product authentication, we are also able to develop new ones based on individual client requests.
We also offer a certification program with a logo that our clients can use on their labels to communicate the authenticity of their products to their customers.
NIU: In the probiotic, prebiotic and microbiome space, what would you say is the next research area that the industry needs to keep its eye on?
(DdL): Next-generation probiotics remain an area of great interest. Certain commensal bacteria hold promise as preventive and therapeutic tools for targeted health effects related to specific conditions.
Due to their classification as strict anaerobes and sensitivity to atmospheric conditions, as well as specific growth requirements, accurately identifying and enumerating next-generation probiotics using culture-based methods can be quite challenging and expensive. Fortunately, our technology provides an effective solution for precise identification and enumeration of these novel microorganisms.
NIU: Can you describe the technology you leverage and the expertise it requires?
(DdL): Our technology entails the development of real-time PCR (qPCR) based methods for strain specific identification and enumeration of probiotic products. Probiotic health benefits are strain-specific and dose-dependent, hence, availability of reliable methods that can achieve strain level identification and enumeration of multi-strain probiotic products plays an important role in achieving high efficacy and regulatory compliant products.
In qPCR, a specific sequence region of DNA is targeted and amplified to rapidly create millions of copies of this region to make it detectable. PCR requires the use of two primers that serve as a starting point for DNA synthesis. The design of these primers determines the specificity of each PCR method, i.e., which species or strain each method targets, this is crucial in the accurate determination of compliant products and requires expertise in both bioinformatics and molecular biology. Our methods are developed for each target probiotic strain to ensure specificity and no cross reactivity with closely related strains, making it ideal to identify target strains in raw ingredients as well as in multi-strain finished products.
We also use qPCR quantitatively for probiotic strain enumeration. To enumerate viable cells only, viability qPCR (v-qPCR) is used, in which, probiotic cells are pre-treated with a viability dye such as ethidium monoazide or propidium monoazide. These viability dyes are used to render DNA from dead cells unreactive in PCR, which is achieved by their ability to enter dead and membrane damaged cells and ability to intercalate to their DNA. Thus, v-qPCR enables the enumeration of viable cells, including viable but non culturable (VNBC) of a specific probiotic target (species or strains) in both raw material and multi-strain finished products. v-qPCR is an accurate and sensitive method for probiotic enumeration, offering 10X shorter time to results compared to culture-based methods. In an ever-growing innovative industry, our methods are designed to be sustainable, practical, cost effective, and support the needs of probiotics, post-biotics, and next generation probiotics in strain level identity and viable cell enumeration verification.
NIU: What is the most fulfilling part of the work being done at Purity-IQ?
(DdL): At our core, we believe in the importance of our work and are committed to being a partner and support system for both the industry and consumers alike. We understand the value of transparency and integrity in the products we use.
Our goal is to provide clients with essential insights into their products, offering verification and reassurance to help them achieve success. By engaging in strategic research and development projects that are customized to meet the specific needs of our clients, we aim to bring maximum value to their businesses.
NIU: What is the significance for Purity-IQ of being named one of our 2023 Probiota Pioneers, and how do you think it helps your profile in such an innovative, ever-changing industry?
(DdL): Being recognized as a Probiota Pioneer is truly exciting, and we are confident that our technology and mission are both unique and well-aligned with our purpose.
We see this as an incredible opportunity to showcase our technological platforms to an industry that can greatly benefit from our innovative solutions. By collaborating with our customers, we aim to provide cutting-edge solutions that can make a meaningful impact in this field.
Probiota Americas 2023
The event takes place June 14-16, 2023 at the Westin Chicago River North in Chicago. The three-day program will explore the state of the market, postbiotics, how plant breeding can impact the human gut microbiome, the regulatory landscapes for microbiome modulators in the US and Canada, the opportunity with pets, disruptive technologies like CRISPR, A.I., and -omics, microbiome modulation to support women’s health, and LBPs in the USA.
Participants include experts from NOW Health Group, Nouri, Postbiotics+, Microba, the University of Nebraska, the US Food & Drug Administration, Health Canada, Amin Talati Wasserman, the International Probiotics Association, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, North Carolina State University, Synbiotic Health, Zbiotics, Morinaga, Kaneka, IFF, Fonterra, the National Animal Supplement Council, AnimalBiome, Persephone Pharma, ExeGi Pharma, University of São Paulo Medical School, SPINS and more.
Probiota 2023 in Barcelona was sold out, so don’t wait to reserve your spot for the leading annual event for the prebiotic, probiotic and the microbiota focused food and pharma industries across the Americas. Register today for Probiota Americas.