Probiotics are live microorganisms (usually bacteria), which are defined by their ability to confer health benefits to the host, if administered adequately. Probiotics are not only used as health supplements but have also been applied in various attempts to prevent and treat gastrointestinal (GI) and non-gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, colon cancer, obesity, diabetes, and inflammation. One of the challenges in the use of probiotics is putative loss of viability by the time of administration. It can be due to procedures that the probiotic products go through during fabrication, storage, or administration. Biocompatible and biodegradable polymers with specific moieties or pH/enzyme sensitivity have shown great potential as carriers of the bacteria for 1) better viability, 2) longer storage times, 3) preservation from the aggressive environment in the stomach and 4) topographically targeted delivery of probiotics. In this review, we focus on polymeric carriers and the procedures applied for encapsulation of the probiotics into them. At the end, some novel methods for specific probiotic delivery, possibilities to improve the targeted delivery of probiotics and some challenges are discussed.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.