Formulation boost for phytosterol in yoghurts

Researches from the University of Manitoba have reported that, contrary to previous reports, phytosterols do not possess antimicrobial activity, which could detrimentally affect yoghurts. «The objectives of the present study were to investigate the antimicrobial activity of phytosterols in milk and their effect on the growth and survival of starter cultures and potential spoilage organisms in yogurt,» explained the researchers. «The commercial phytosterol preparation had no effect on growth and acid development by Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus during yogurt production at 33 degrees Celsius and storage at four degrees Celsius for 30 days,» wrote the authors in the Journal of Food Science. The study has implications for the use of phytosterols in a wider range of food products, showing that phytosterols could be employed in combination with yoghurt starter cultures. When the CPP (commercial phytosterol preparation) was dispersed in combination with SSL (sodium stearoyl lactylate) an effect on bacterial counts, which was not due to the presence of SSL, said the scientists. «While the CCP was somewhat antimicrobial when formulated with dispersing agents, it otherwise had no antimicrobial activity,» they said. CLINICAL TRIAL SUPPORT FOR HEALTH BENEFITS.-Numerous clinical trials in controlled settings have reported that daily consumption of 1.5 to 3 grams of phytosterols/-stanols from foods can reduce total cholesterol levels by 8 to 17 per cent, representing a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the majority of studies have looked at high-fat products as carriers for the sterols. High cholesterol levels, hypercholesterolaemia, have a long association with many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD), the cause of almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and reported to cost the EU economy an estimated ?169bn ($202bn) per year. The new study was partly financed by Forbes Medi-Tech and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
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