FERMENTED FOOD PRODUCTS CONTAINING PROBIOTIC STRAINS AND METHOD FOR PREPARING SAME

- COMPAGNIE GERVAIS DANONE

The invention concerns mainly a non-solid fermented food product containing ferments comprising about 5·107, in particular more than about 108 bifidobacteria per gram of food product fermented for a shelf lifetime of at least 30 days, in particular of at least 35 days.

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Description

The invention relates to fermented food products containing probiotic strains, and their preparation process.

The bifidobacteria belong to the dominant anaerobic flora in the colon. The main species present in the human colon are Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum ssp infantis, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum.

The bifidobacteria are probiotic bacteria of choice. Bacteria of the genus Bifidobacterium are used in numerous products currently on the market and are often added to dairy products already comprising the standard bacteria in yoghurt (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus).

The consumption of bifidobacteria is recognized as being beneficial in the process of re-establishing the normal bifidobacteria population in individuals having undergone antibiotics therapy. This consumption also seems to make it possible to reduce constipation, prevent diarrhea and reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Probiotics are live bacteria. The use of these live bacteria in the manufacture of food products such as dairy products is tricky in particular with regard to the problem of survival of these bacteria in the product.

80% of the products currently on the market which contain bifidobacteria do not satisfy the criteria making it possible to maintain that they significantly improve the intestinal transit of the individuals consuming them. A daily intake of at least 108 to 109 viable cells has been recommended as the minimum dose making it possible to have a therapeutic effect (Silva A. M., Barbosa F. H., Duarte R., Vieira L. Q., Arantes R. M., Nicoli J. R., Effect of Bifidobacterium longum ingestion on experimental salmonellosis in mice, J. Appl. Microbiol. 97 (2004) 29-37). The required dose can be dependent on the probiotic strain used.

In the case of the production of a bioactive food product containing bifidobacteria the problem therefore arises of obtaining a sufficient population of these bacteria in the product and maintaining it during the “life” of the product.

The problem of the numerical size of the population of probiotic strains in a fermented dairy product is a known problem (see in particular D. Roy, Technological aspects related to the use of bifidobacteria in dairy products, Lait 85 (2005) 39-56, INRA, EDP Sciences).

Several reasons for this problem have been suggested, including the reduction in the population during storage, the disturbed growth of these bacteria starting from a certain pH or quite simply the poor ability of these bifidobacteria to grow, in particular in milk.

The main purpose of the invention is to provide non-firm fermented food products containing a high population of bifidobacteria throughout the period of preservation of said fermented food products, i.e. non-firm fermented food products containing bifidobacteria in a good physiological state and having a significant survival rate during the period of preservation of said fermented food products, in particular until the use-by date of the products.

Another purpose of the invention is to provide preparation processes which are simple to implement, making it possible to obtain the above products.

Another purpose of the invention is to promote the growth of the bifidobacteria over the standard symbioses present in yoghurts, these symbioses being constituted in a standard fashion by one or more strains of Streptococcus thermophilus and of Lactobacillus bulgaricus.

The purposes of the invention are achieved thanks to the surprising finding made by the inventors that a precise regulation of a certain number of parameters involved in a standard fashion in the processes for the preparation of non-firm fermented food products makes it possible to obtain rapidly, after fermentation of the populations, at least 108 bifidobacteria per gram of product, and increased survival of the bifidobacteria up to the use-by date of the products, without necessarily modifying the growth of the other bacterial strains.

The invention relates to a non-firm fermented food product containing ferments, which contain lactic bacteria, comprising more than approximately 5·107, in particular more than approximately 108 bifidobacteria per gram of food product fermented for a preservation period of at least 30 days, in particular at least 35 days.

By “non-firm fermented food product” is meant a fermented food product which has undergone a stage of cutting of coagulum and/or smoothing during its preparation process prior to its packaging.

A firm fermented food product is a product which is packaged before the fermentation, the fermentation occurring in the packaging container. Thus, for a dairy product, the milk is seeded and directly packaged in pots where it ferments. After the seeding, the seeded milk is packaged in pots. These pots are generally placed in an oven for 3 hours. The bacteria reproduce and consume the lactose which is then partially converted to lactic acid which modifies the structure of the proteins, forming what is known as a lactic gel. Then, the products are placed in a ventilated cooler or cooling tunnel and stored at approximately 4° C.

Examples of non-firm fermented food products are: stirred yoghurts or drinking yoghurts.

By “ferments” is meant a set of bacteria, in particular bacteria intended for to fermentation and/or bacteria with probiotic value.

The preservation or storage period of the fermented food product is the period which immediately follows the end of the process of preparation of the fermented food product and its packaging. During this preservation period the fermented food product is usually preserved at a temperature comprised between approximately 4 and approximately 10° C.

The abovementioned fermented food product contains more than approximately 5·107, in particular more than approximately 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product in particular for a preservation period of at least 35 days, and more particularly for a preservation period of at least 40 days. More particularly the abovementioned fermented food product contains more than approximately 5·107, in particular more than approximately 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product up to the use-by date of the product.

The use-by dates depend on the legal preservation periods fixed by current legislation, which can typically vary from 15 to 50 days from the date of production. By way of example, the legal preservation period is generally 30 days for fresh dairy products.

A population of bifidobacteria which is greater than or equal to 108 CFU/g at the use-by date of product preserved between 4 and 10° C. can be considered as a sufficient population of bifidobacteria given the medical recommendations relating to the provision of bifidobacteria in food.

The invention relates more particularly to the fermented food product as defined above, in which the ratio of the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the end of the preservation period to the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the start of the preservation period of at least 30 days, in particular at least 35 days, is approximately 0.2 to approximately 0.8, in particular approximately 0.3 to approximately 0.7, in particular approximately 0.4 to approximately 0.5.

In other words the survival rate of the bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product between the start of the preservation period (i.e. the end of the preparation process) and the end of the preservation period is comprised between 20 and 80%, in particular between 30 and 70%, and in particular between 40 and 50%.

Said preservation period is at least 30 days, in particular at least 35 days, but more particularly at least 40 days or extends up to the use-by date of the fermented food product.

The invention also relates to a non-firm fermented food product preserved for a preservation period of at least 30 days, in particular at least 35 days, at a temperature of approximately 4 to approximately 10° C., containing ferments comprising more than approximately 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product.

More particularly the invention relates to a non-firm fermented food product preserved for a preservation period of at least 30 days, in particular at least 35 days, in particular at least 40 days, at a temperature of less than 12° C. or less than 10° C., containing ferments comprising more than approximately 5·107, in particular more than approximately 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product.

The invention relates more particularly to a fermented food product as defined above, containing more than approximately 5·107, in particular more than approximately 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product at the start of the preservation period.

Fermented food product according to one of claims 1 to 4, in which the bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product are of the type Bifidobacterium animalis, in particular Bifidobacterium animalis animalis and/or Bidifobacterium animalis lactis, and/or Bifidobacterium breve and/or Bifidobacterium longum and/or Bidifobacterium infantis and/or Bidifobacterium bifidum.

Advantageously, the fermented food product as defined above is prepared based on plant juice and in particular fruit juice or vegetable juice such as soya juice, or on a dairy product, and in particular on cow's milk and/or on goat's milk.

Said fermented food product can also be based on sheep's milk or on camel's milk or mare's milk.

By plant juice is meant a juice produced from plant extracts, in particular soya, tonyu, oat, wheat, maize etc.

Examples of vegetable juice are: tomato juice, beet juice, carrot juice etc.

Examples of fruit juice are: apple, orange, strawberry, peach, apricot, plum, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry, pineapple, lemon, citrus fruit, grapefruit, banana, kiwi fruit, pear, cherry, passion fruit, mango, exotic fruit juice, multifruit juice etc.

According to an advantageous embodiment, the fermented food product as defined above is such that the ferments contain lactic bacteria, in particular one or more bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus spp. and in particular Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus and/or Lactobacillus casei and/or Lactobacillus reuteri and/or Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Lactobacillus helveticus and/or Lactobacillus plactarum, and/or bacteria of the type Lactococcus cremoris and/or Streptococcus thermophilus and/or Lactococcus locus and/or one or more bacteria of the genus Leuconostoc.

According to an advantageous embodiment, the fermented food product as defined above is such that the ferments contain lactic bacteria which exhibit a symbiotic phenomenon between themselves.

By “symbiotic phenomenon” is meant a relation between different types of lactic bacteria which are capable of creating a mutual assistance between themselves and increasing their fermentation activities.

According to an advantageous embodiment, the proportion of bifidobacteria in the ferments contained in the fermented food product as defined above is approximately 20 to approximately 80%, in particular approximately 30 to approximately 70%, in particular approximately 40 to approximately 60%, and in particular approximately 50%.

By “proportion of bifidobacteria in the ferments” is meant the proportion of bifidobacteria relative to the total number of bacteria included in the fermented food product, i.e. relative to all of the bifidobacteria and other bacteria, in particular the bacteria Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus etc.

The good numerical balance between the bifidobacteria and the other bacterial strains in the fermented food product at the end of the preparation process, and the substantial maintenance of this balance throughout the preservation period, are essential guarantees of the quality of the food product.

A proportion of 50% bifidobacteria constitutes a good compromise between the problem of cost (the bifidobacteria are expensive) and the problem of obtaining a correct population of bifidobacteria.

According to a particular embodiment, the fermented food product according to the invention is presented in the form of a stirred fermented food product or a fermented food product for drinking or an infant fermented food product.

By “stirred [ . . . ] product” is meant a product, in particular a milk, seeded, fermented, mechanically stirred then packaged. The fermentation of such a product is carried out not in a pot but in bulk, in tanks. The curd is stirred then cooled down before being packed in pots, which are stored under refrigeration. By curd is meant a coagulate of proteins in particular of milk.

By “[ . . . ] product for drinking” is meant a product in substantially liquid form. A product for drinking is a product which is such that, after the mechanical stirring stage, the product is beaten in the tanks before being packaged.

By “infant [ . . . ] product” is meant a product suited to an infant's needs, with a low protein and fat content.

Said fermented food product can in particular be a yoghurt or a firm, stirred or drinking yoghurt or a bar containing a dairy substance, kefir, a biscuit with a dairy filling, a water containing probiotics etc.

Moreover the invention also relates to a process for the preparation of a fermented food product from a starting substance, comprising the following successive stages:

    • a stage of seeding of a starting substance, optionally pasteurized, by inoculation with seeding ferments containing approximately 4·106 to approximately 1·107 bifidobacteria per ml of starting substance, in order to obtain a seeded substance,
    • a stage of fermentation of the seeded substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the temperature at the start of fermentation is approximately 36 to approximately 38° C., the temperature at the end of fermentation is approximately 37 to approximately 39° C., and the fermentation time is approximately 8 to approximately 11 hours, in order to obtain a fermented substance,
    • a stage of intermediate cooling of the fermented substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the intermediate cooling time is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to approximately 2 hours and the intermediate cooling temperature is approximately 4 to approximately 18° C., in order to obtain a pre-cooled substance,
    • a stage of storage of the pre-cooled substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the storage time is less than approximately 15 hours, in order to obtain a stored substance,

a stage of final cooling of the stored substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the temperature at the start of the final cooling is less than approximately 21° C. and the temperature at the end of the final cooling is approximately 2 to approximately 6° C., so as to obtain a fermented food product.

The ferments used for seeding the starting substance are generally obtained by growing bifidobacteria in a culture medium and under conditions such that when the population of bifidobacteria arrives at confluence, it contains 108 to 109 bifidobacteria per ml of culture medium. It is therefore noted that according to the invention the quantity of ferments used at the start corresponds to approximately 0.1% of the dose of bifidobacteria used in a standard fashion.

By “fermentation” is meant a biochemical reaction which involves releasing energy from an organic substrate, under the action of micro-organisms. It is a process of conversion of a raw material by the micro-organisms, this conversion then producing biomass and metabolites. In particular, lactic fermentation is an anaerobic process of the consumption of lactose by the bacteria in the ferments, which causes the formation of lactic acid and a lowering of the pH.

The invention follows from the surprising finding made by the inventors that the regulation of the parameters of time, temperature and initial population of bifidobacteria within the abovementioned ranges, makes it possible to improve the resistance of the bifidobacteria and their ability to survive. The bidifobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the end of the preparation process of the invention are in a better physiological state than if said parameters are fixed at values situated outside the above ranges, which allows a greater number of these bifidobacteria to survive during the preservation of the fermented food product which follows.

Moreover, the regulation of said parameters within the abovementioned ranges allows substantial savings, in particular, in time and energy.

Moving away from the ranges fixed according to the invention, the survival rate of the bifidobacteria during preservation is unfavorably altered.

The abovementioned preparation process makes it possible to obtain non-firm fermented food products.

Advantageously, the ferments contain lactic bacteria.

According to a particular embodiment, the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention is such that the bifidobacteria are chosen from bacteria of the type Bifidobacterium animalis, in particular Bifidobacterium animalis animalis and/or Bidifobacterium animalis lactis, and/or Bifidobacterium breve and/or Bifidobacterium longum and/or Bifidobacterium infantis and/or Bifidobacterium bifidum.

According to a particular embodiment, the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention is such that the bifidobacteria are chosen from bacteria of the type Bifidobacterium animalis.

Advantageously, the intermediate cooling time in the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

Advantageously, the storage time in the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention is less than or equal to approximately 12 hours, in particular equal to approximately 12 hours.

Advantageously, the temperature at the end of final cooling in the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention is approximately 4° C.

According to a particular embodiment of the process for the preparation of a food product as defined above, the seeding ferments contain lactic bacteria, in particular one or more bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus spp. and in particular Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus and/or Lactobacillus casei and/or Lactobacillus reuteri and/or Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Lactobacillus helveticus and/or Lactobacillus plantarum, and/or bacteria of the type Lactococcus cremoris and/or Streptococcus thermophilus and/or Lactococcus lactis and/or one or more bacteria of the genus Leuconostoc.

Advantageously, the lactic bacteria exhibit a symbiotic phenomenon between themselves.

According to a particular embodiment of the process for the preparation of a food product as defined above, the proportion of bifidobacteria in the seeding ferments is approximately 20 to approximately 75%, in particular approximately 30 to approximately 50%, in particular approximately 35 to approximately 40%, in particular approximately 37.5%.

By “proportion of the bifidobacteria in the seeding ferments”, is meant the proportion of the bifidobacteria relative to all of the inoculated bacteria in total during the seeding stage.

This proportion corresponds to an optimum in terms of cost and final concentration of bifidobacteria, given that the higher the concentration of bifidobacteria at the start, the more competitive they are in terms of growth relative to the other strains in the ferments, and the more rapidly the optimum concentration of bifidobacteria is reached.

According to a particular embodiment of the process for the preparation of a food product as defined above, the starting substance is based on plant juice and in particular fruit juice or vegetable juice such as soya juice, or on a dairy product, constituted in particular by cow's milk and/or goat's milk.

The starting substance can also comprise sheep's and/or camel's and/or mare's milk.

In the case where the fermented food product is a dairy product, the starting substance can comprise milk, milk powder, sugar, a mixture of milk and plant juice, a mixture of milk and fruit juice, a mixture of milk and starch.

According to a particular embodiment, the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention comprises an additional stage of stirring between the fermentation stage and the intermediate cooling stage, making it possible to obtain, from the fermented substance obtained in the fermentation stage, a stirred fermented substance.

By “stirring” is meant a process of mechanical stirring using a turbine or helical stirrer. It is a stage which determines the oiliness of the product in particular the dairy product. If the stirring is too violent, incorporation of air and separation of the serum can occur. If the stirring is insufficient, the product risks subsequently becoming too thick.

According to a particular embodiment, the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention comprises a pasteurization stage before the seeding stage, making it possible to obtain, from the starting substance, a pasteurized starting substance.

By “pasteurization” is meant the method usual in the field of food preservation involving a rapid heating without boiling, followed by rapid cooling, making it possible to destroy most of the bacteria while partially preserving the proteins.

According to an advantageous embodiment of the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention, the pasteurized starting substance is a pasteurized starting substance, which is held, optionally homogenized, and cooled down, obtained from a raw material, said process comprising, before the seeding stage, the following successive stages:

    • a stage of standardization of fatty substances of the raw material so as to obtain a standardized substance,
    • a stage of enrichment with dried matter of the standardized substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain an enriched substance,
    • a stage of pre-heating of the enriched substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a starting substance,
    • a stage of pasteurization and holding of the starting substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a pasteurized and held substance,
    • an optional stage of homogenization of the pasteurized and held substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a pasteurized, held and optionally homogenized substance,
    • a stage of initial cooling of the pasteurized, held and optionally homogenized substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a pasteurized starting substance, held, optionally homogenized, and cooled down.

By “standardization of fatty substances” is meant a stage of bringing the quantity of fats present in the starting substance to a pre-determined level.

Enrichment with dried matter involves the addition of proteins and fatty substance in order to modify the firmness of the curd.

“Holding” involves a rapid thermization of the milk and makes it possible to destroy the vegetative microbial flora, including pathogenic forms. Its typical duration is from 4 to 10 minutes, in particular from 5 to 8 minutes, and in particular approximately 6 minutes.

By “homogenization” is meant the dispersion of the fatty substances in the milk-type substance into small fat globules. The homogenization is carried out for example at a pressure of 100 to 280 bars, in particular 100 to 250 bars, in particular 100 to 200 bars, in particular approximately 200 bars. This homogenization stage is purely optional. It is in particular absent from the production process of products with 0% fatty substances.

According to an advantageous embodiment, the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention comprises, after the final cooling stage, a stage of preservation of the fermented food product at a temperature comprised between approximately 4 and approximately 10° C.

According to an advantageous embodiment, the process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to the invention comprises a stage of the addition of an intermediate preparation simultaneously with the seeding stage or between the seeding stage and the fermentation stage, so as to obtain, from the seeded substance, a completed seeded substance, or after the fermentation stage, so as to obtain, from the fermented substance, a completed fermented substance, said intermediate preparation comprising a preparation of fruits and/or cereals and/or additives such as flavourings and colourings.

The intermediate preparation can in particular contain thickeners (soluble and insoluble fibres, alginates, carragheenans, xanthan gum, pectin, starch, in particular gelatinized, gelan gum, cellulose and its derivatives, guar and carob gum, inulin) or sweeteners (aspartame, acesulphame K, saccharine, sucralose, cyclamate) or preservatives.

Examples of flavourings are: apple, orange, strawberry, kiwi fruit, cocoa flavouring etc.

Examples of colourings are: beta-carotene, carmine, cochineal red.

Moreover, the preparation of the abovementioned fruits can comprise fruits which are whole or in pieces or in jelly or in jam, making it possible for example to obtain fruit yoghurts.

The intermediate preparation can also contain plant extracts (soya, rice etc.).

The invention also relates to a fermented food product as obtained from one of the processes as defined above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 represents the tolerance chart corresponding to the effect of the fermentation temperature as a function of the quantity of bifidobacteria at the start. x-axis: quantity of bifidobacteria inoculated at 107 CFU/ml; y-axis: fermentation temperature in degrees celsius. Black: quantity of bifidobacteria less than 5·107 CFU/ml; fine hatching: quantity of bifidobacteria comprised between 5·107 and 10·8 CFU/ml; thick hatching: quantity of bifidobacteria greater than 108 CFU/ml. The measurement is carried out at the end of fermentation.

FIG. 2 represents the tolerance chart corresponding to the effect of the cooling temperature of the products before the final storage at 10° C. as a function of the waiting time before cooling to 20° C. x-axis: waiting time for smoothing (in hours); y-axis: cooling temperature before final storage (in ° C.). Fine hatching: quantity of bifidobacteria comprised between 5·107 and 108 CFU/ml; thick hatching: quantity of bifidobacteria greater than 108 CFU/ml. The measurement is carried out 35 days after fermentation.

FIG. 3 represents the tolerance chart corresponding to the effect of the cooling temperature of the products before final storage at 10° C. as a function of the fermentation temperature. x-axis: fermentation temperature (° C.); y-axis: cooling temperature during final storage (° C.). Black: quantity of bifidobacteria less than 5·107 CFU/ml; fine hatching: quantity of bifidobacteria comprised between 5·107 and 108 CFU/ml; thick hatching: quantity of bifidobacteria greater than 108 CFU/ml. The measurement is carried out 35 days after the fermentation.

EXAMPLE 1

In order to prove that the ranges of the different parameters as defined above correspond to an optimization vis-à-vis the survival of the bifidobacteria during preservation, a standard stirred yoghurt is prepared varying each factor independently. Each factor is tested at a low level (marked −1), a medium level (marked 0) and a high level (marked +1). The list of the parameters tested is shown in Table 1 below:

TABLE 1 Factors Low level (−1) Medium level (0) High level (+1) Growth of the Inoculation of 106 CFU/ml 107 CFU/ml 5.107 CFU/ml bifidobacteria bifidobacteria Fermentation time 6.5 h 8.25 h 10 h Fermentation 36° C. 38° C. 40° C. temperature Survival of Waiting time for 0.33 h 1 h 2.5 h the smoothing at the end bifidobacteria of the fermentation Cooling temperature 15° C. 17.5° C. 20° C. (smoothing) Buffer storage time 1 h 12 h 20 h after smoothing Packaging 15° C. 17.5° C. 20° C. temperature Cooling and product- C. C. 10° C. storage temperature

From the different experiments, the factors are correlated and tolerance charts are established vis-à-vis the growth and survival of the bifidobacteria, which correspond to the projections of the quantities of bifidobacteria obtained for each parameter: see FIGS. 1 to 3.

In particular in FIG. 2 it is noted that if the products are not cooled sufficiently rapidly (too long a waiting time in fermentation tank), there is a loss of bifidobacteria. In FIG. 3 it is noted that if the products are not cooled correctly between 4° C. and 6° C., the loss in bifidobacteria at D+35 is significant.

EXAMPLE 2

Industrial tests are carried out on 3000 litres.

1st group of tests:

Control 1: fermentation temperature 39° C.; storage time 24 h.

Control 2: fermentation temperature 40° C.

Test 1: fermentation temperature 37° C., cooling 6° C.

(control 1 and control 2: milk+milk powder)

2nd group of tests:

Control 3: fermentation temperature 39° C.

Control 4: fermentation temperature 40° C.

Test 2: all the parameters are chosen from the claimed ranges, i.e.:

inoculation of bifidobacteria: 1·107 CFU/ml;

fermentation time: 9 h 40;

fermentation temperature: 37° C.;

intermediate cooling time: 1 h 30;

intermediate cooling temperature: 18° C.;

buffer storage time after smoothing: 12 h;

final cooling temperature: 6° C.

(control 3 and control 4: milk+milk powder+fruit preparation added at the end of production)

The results are presented in Tables 2 and 3 below, where the population of bifidobacteria is indicated in CFU/ml.

TABLE 2 End of fermentation D + 1 D + 21 D + 35 Control 1 1.0 · 108 1.0 · 108 5.0 · 107 3.0 · 107 Control 2 3.0 · 107 6.0 · 107 3.0 · 107 3.0 · 107 Test 1 1.7 · 108 1.7 · 108 2.0 · 108 1.4 · 108

TABLE 3 End of fermentation D + 1 D + 35 Control 3 1.9 · 108 1.5 · 108 7.0 · 107 Control 4 2.0 · 107 2.0 · 107 2.0 · 107 Test 2 5.0 · 108 3.8 · 108 2.1 · 108

In these tables, D corresponds to the end of fermentation, D+1 corresponds to storage for 1 day etc.

Claims

1-25. (canceled)

26. A non-firm fermented food product containing ferments, which contain lactic bacteria, comprising more than 5×107, bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product for a preservation period of at least 30 days.

27. The non-firm fermented food product containing ferments according to claim 26, which contain lactic bacteria, comprising more than 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product for a preservation period of at least 30 days.

28. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the ratio of the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the end of the preservation period to the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the start of the preservation period of at least 30 days.

29. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the ratio of the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the end of the preservation period to the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the start of the preservation period of at least 30 days, is 0.3 to 0.7.

30. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the ratio of the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the end of the preservation period to the number of bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product at the start of the preservation period of at least 30 days, is 0.4 to 0.5.

31. A non-firm fermented food product preserved for a preservation period of at least 30 days, at a temperature of 4 to 10° C., containing ferments comprising more than 5×107, bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product.

32. The non-firm fermented food product according to claim 31, containing ferments comprising more than 108 bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product.

33. The fermented food product according to claim 26, containing more than 5×107, bifidobacteria per gram of fermented food product at the start of the preservation period.

34. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the bifidobacteria contained in the fermented food product are of the type Bifidobacterium animalis.

35. The fermented food product according to claim 34, in which the bifidobacteria of the type Bifidobacterium animalis are selected from the group consisting of Bifidobacterium animalis animalis and/or Bidifobacterium animalis lactis, and/or Bifidobacterium breve and/or Bifidobacterium longum and/or Bidifobacterium infantis and/or Bidifobacterium bifidum.

36. The fermented food product according to claim 26, prepared based on plant juice and in particular fruit juice or vegetable juice such as soya juice, or on a dairy product, and in particular on cow's milk and/or on goat's milk.

37. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the ferments contain lactic bacteria, such as one or more bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus spp.

38. The fermented food product according to claim 37, in which the bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus spp. are selected from the group consisting of Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus and/or Lactobacillus casei and/or Lactobacillus reuteri and/or Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Lactobacillus helveticus and/or Lactobacillus plantarum, and/or bacteria of the type Lactococcus cremoris and/or Streptococcus thermophilus and/or Lactococcus lactis and/or one or more bacteria of the genus Leuconostoc.

39. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the ferments contain lactic bacteria which exhibit a symbiotic phenomenon between themselves.

40. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the proportion of bifidobacteria in the ferments is 20 to 80%.

41. The fermented food product according to claim 26, in which the proportion of bifidobacteria in the ferments 30 to 70%.

42. The fermented food product according to claim 26 or 6, in which the proportion of bifidobacteria in the ferments is 40 to 60%.

43. The fermented food product according to claim 26 or 6, in which the proportion of bifidobacteria in the ferments is 50%.

44. The fermented food product according to claim 26, presented in the form of a stirred fermented food product or a fermented food product for drinking or an infant fermented food product.

45. A process for the preparation of a fermented food product from a starting substance, comprising the following successive stages:

a stage of seeding of a starting substance, optionally pasteurized, by inoculation with seeding ferments containing 4×106 to 1×107 bifidobacteria per ml of starting substance, in order to obtain a seeded substance,
a stage of fermentation of the seeded substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the temperature at the start of fermentation is 36 to 38° C., the temperature at the end of fermentation is 37 to 39° C., and the fermentation time is 8 to 11 hours, in order to obtain a fermented substance,
a stage of intermediate cooling of the fermented substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the intermediate cooling time is 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours and the intermediate cooling temperature is 4 to 18° C., in order to obtain a pre-cooled substance,
a stage of storage of the pre-cooled substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the storage time is less than 15 hours, in order to obtain a stored substance,
a stage of final cooling of the stored substance obtained in the preceding stage, such that the temperature at the start of the final cooling is less than 21° C. and the temperature at the end of the final cooling is −2 to 6° C., so as to obtain a fermented food product.

46. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, in which the bifidobacteria are chosen from bacteria of the type Bifidobacterium animalis.

47. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 46, in which the bifidobacteria of the type Bifidobacterium animalis are selected from the group consisting in Bifidobacterium animalis animalis and/or Bidifobacterium animalis lactis, and/or Bifidobacterium breve and/or Bifidobacterium longum and/or Bifidobacterium infantis and/or Bifidobacterium bifidum.

48. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, in which the intermediate cooling time is 1 h 30.

49. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, in which the storage time is less than or equal to 12 hours.

50. The process according to claim 45, in which the temperature at the end of final cooling is 4° C.

51. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, in which the seeding ferments contain lactic bacteria, such as one or more bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus spp.

52. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 51, in which the bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus spp. are selected from the group consisting in Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus and/or Lactobacillus casei and/or Lactobacillus reuteri and/or Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Lactobacillus helveticus and/or Lactobacillus plantarum, and/or bacteria of the type Lactococcus cremoris and/or Streptococcus thermophilus and/or Lactococcus lactis and/or one or more bacteria of the genus Leuconostoc.

53. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, in which the proportion of bifidobacteria in the seeding ferments is 20 to 75%.

54. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 20, in which the starting substance is based on plant juice and in particular fruit juice or vegetable juice such as soya juice, or on a dairy product, constituted by cow's milk and/or goat's milk.

55. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, comprising an additional stirring stage between the fermentation stage and the intermediate cooling stage, making it possible to obtain, from the fermented substance obtained in the fermentation stage, a stirred fermented substance.

56. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, comprising a pasteurization stage before the seeding stage, making it possible to obtain, from the starting substance, a pasteurized starting substance.

57. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, in which the pasteurized starting substance is a pasteurized starting substance which is held, optionally homogenized, and cooled down, obtained from a raw material, said process comprising, before the seeding stage, the following successive stages:

a stage of standardization of fatty substance of the raw material so as to obtain a standardized substance,
a stage of enrichment with dried matter of the standardized substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain an enriched substance,
a stage of pre-heating of the enriched substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a starting substance,
a stage of pasteurization and holding of the starting substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a pasteurized and held substance,
an optional stage of homogenization of the pasteurized and held substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a pasteurized, held and optionally homogenized substance,
a stage of initial cooling of the pasteurized, held and optionally homogenized substance obtained in the preceding stage, so as to obtain a pasteurized starting substance, held, optionally homogenized, and cooled down.

58. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45 comprising, after the final cooling stage, a stage of preservation of the fermented food product at a temperature comprised between 4 and 10° C.

59. The process for the preparation of a fermented food product according to claim 45, comprising a stage of the addition of an intermediate preparation simultaneously with the seeding stage or between the seeding stage and the fermentation stage, so as to obtain, from the seeded substance, a completed seeded substance, or after the fermentation stage, so as to obtain, from the fermented substance, a completed fermented substance, said intermediate preparation comprising a preparation of fruits and/or cereals and/or additives such as flavourings and colourings.

60. A fermented food product as obtained from the process of one of claims 45.

Patent History

Publication number: 20080175952
Type: Application
Filed: Jan 14, 2008
Publication Date: Jul 24, 2008
Applicant: COMPAGNIE GERVAIS DANONE (Paris)
Inventors: Luc TERRAGNO (Meudon), Francois DEBRU (Versailles), Philippe TEISSIER (Palaiseau), Stephane HERVE (Madrid), Jean-Luc BLACHON (Bry-Sur-Marne)
Application Number: 12/013,636