Probiotics: How Are Probiotics Made?

These days, probiotics seem to be mentioned everywhere. People used to consume probiotics in the form of yoghurt and dairy products, but due to the convenience of taking supplements on the go, the market has shifted to alternative methods such as capsules, tablets, and powders. The supplement industry has grown rapidly in the last 18 months as a result of a shift in consumer behavior and a greater emphasis on proactive and preventative health and wellness that extends beyond the traditional multivitamin.

However, the manufacturing process is highly sensitive and requires competent equipment and knowledge to produce supplements that are well-received by consumers. Although probiotics are classified as dietary supplements, their production may differ from that of other supplements. Let’s see how.

Step 1: Strain Selection

The first and most important step in the production of probiotics is strain selection. The strain you choose is solely determined by your goal for making a specific probiotic supplement and any potential health claims you want to make. Whether you want to make a supplement to help with digestion, immune system health, or a healthy response to occasional stress, you can do so. Each strain has its own distinct characteristics and benefits. Some strains promote a healthy immune system, while others aid lactose digestion. It goes without saying that high-quality probiotics raw materials are required for the production of high-quality supplements. To demonstrate efficacy, the chosen strains must survive in the gut.

The genus for each of the commonly used probiotics include:


Lactobacillus is a genus of friendly bacteria that produces lactic acid and makes up many of the 400 probiotic species found in the human body. Lactobacilli have a number of advantages, including the following:

  • Inducing growth factors and increasing the bioavailability of minerals.
  • Stabilizing the mucosal barrier and decreasing intestinal permeability.
  • Supporting a desirable balance in various types of bacteria by producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Immunomodulating effects such as promoting healthy immune function.
  • Promoting healthy levels of Candida albicans.


Bifidobacterium, like Lactobacillus species, colonizes the human colon and produces lactic acid. These probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to create a microbial barrier in the intestine against harmful bacteria. In fact, some Bifidobacteria species (such as Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium longum) bind to the intestinal mucosa and prevent undesirable bacteria from attaching.


Bacillus is a genus of probiotic bacteria that produces spores. The spore provides a protective encasement that allows for almost indefinite storage until it is ready to be consumed while also ensuring that it survives stomach transit intact. Bacillus species have a spore-like protein coating that allows them to survive stomach acid, reach the small intestine, germinate, and multiply, according to research. Furthermore, Bacillus species have been shown to tolerate bile, allowing them to survive in the small intestine as well.


Streptococcus thermophilus, a member of this bacterial genus, is used in the dairy industry for the fermentation of yogurt and a variety of cheeses.

Step 2: Media Formulation

Aside from an effective formula with the proper raw material doses, selecting naturally bile and acid-resistant strains is critical. You should also have them tested for intestinal survivability. The chosen strains are then fermented and stabilized. The probiotic strain is investigated in the bio-processing laboratory to determine which controllable parameters and nutrients can be optimized for growth. Once the optimal combination of nutrients and process parameters has been determined, large-scale production can begin.

Step 3: Fermentation

Probiotic raw materials can be sourced from all over the world. Furthermore, probiotics are manufactured to order in order to maintain freshness and quality. Bacterial cultivation can take up to 6 weeks. The cultivation period cannot be rushed while the cultures are growing. Specific strain ID numbers are frequently unique to the material’s supplier. As a result, you are reliant on a single supplier because others cannot provide you with the same strain IDs. Other raw materials may not be readily available in the required quantity with the contract manufacturer, further delaying the turn-around time.

All nutrients and equipment are sterilized during fermentation to eliminate any unwanted or unintentional contamination. In a large tank, the strain is mixed with the media. In the nutritious and warm ingredient bath, the strain multiplies until it reaches the desired count (CFU – Colony-forming Units). Metabolites are formed as a by-product of the bacteria’s nutrient metabolism during this process.

Probiotics are difficult to work with during the manufacturing process and necessitate a large amount of overages to ensure that each strain meets the claim stated on the supplement label. 

Step 4: Centrifugation

When the cultures are complete, separate the probiotic strains from the metabolites. Another critical aspect of the probiotics production process that requires close attention is the stability of the probiotics. The moment probiotic products are packaged, they begin to lose their stability/freshness. Several methods are used to keep supplements stable and potent for long-term storage. These processes are critical and have an impact on the viability and applicability of probiotic strains.

Refrigeration: The probiotic bacteria are subjected to extremely low temperatures.

Avoiding hot/humid environments: This step keeps the bacteria free from humidity. The step involves a few drying methods.

>> Freeze Drying: A more prolonged but gentler process.

>> Spray Drying: A shorter process characterized by higher temperatures, but not too high for the bacteria to survive.

Step 5: Blending and Bottling

There is only one strain in the above powder. Other probiotic powders are blended to form an evenly distributed, balanced mixture for multi-strain formula. Aside from probiotics, other essential ingredients such as prebiotics, flavoring ingredients, binders to produce alternate dosage forms, ingredients that complement the probiotic’s health focus, and so on can be combined. This mixture is then prepared to be presented in its final dosage forms, such as tablets, capsules, and powder.

Probiotics are extremely sensitive to environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and light. These conditions differ from strain to strain and have an impact on the product’s expiration date. As a result, they must be carefully packaged and prepared for shipment. They should be shielded from direct sunlight, extreme heat, and moisture.

Furthermore, quality testing should be performed throughout the manufacturing process, which is of great importance.

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