Development of Fresh-cut Apple Slices Enriched with Probiotic Strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12

This study was conducted to investigate the suitability of fresh-cut apple slices as carriers of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 (B. lactis BB-12). Furthermore, the effect of this strain against the colonization of apple by Escherichia coli O157:H7 was also evaluated. Apple wedges were suspended in an edible solution containing B. lactis BB-12 (greater than 8 log10 cfu mL–1) and/or E. coli O157:H7. Microbiological quality and physicochemical properties (pH, moisture content, soluble solids, titratable acidity, color, and texture) of probiotic samples were evaluated on days 1, 5, 9, and 14 of refrigerated storage. Sensory evaluation was performed on days 1 and 7. The probiotic concentration was above the recommended level of 10 ⁶ cfu/g during the test period. Co-inoculation with probiotic bacteria neither affected E. coli O157:H7 population dynamics, nor influenced the physicochemical and organoleptic properties of fresh-cut apple wedges. Minimally processed apples seem to be suitable vehicles for probiotic bacteria including B. lactis BB-12. Such probiotic products can be a desirable probiotic food choice for consumers, particularly those who are allergic or intolerant to dairy products. However, further studies are required to address the antagonistic effects of probiotic species on food-borne pathogens.

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