Lactic acid bacteria can have beneficial health effects and be used for the treatment of various diseases. However, there remains the challenge of encapsulating probiotics into delivery systems with a high viability and encapsulation efficacy. The electrospinning of bacteria is a novel and little-studied method, and further investigation of its promising potential is needed. Here, the morphology, zeta potential, hydrophobicity, average cell mass, and growth characteristics of nine different species of Lactobacillus
and one of Lactococcus
are characterized. The electrospinning of polymer solutions containing ~10 log colony forming units (CFU)/mL lactic acid bacteria enabled the successful incorporation of all bacterial species tested, from the smallest (0.74 µm; Lactococcus lactis
) to the largest (10.82 µm; Lactobacillus delbrueckii
), into poly(ethylene oxide) nanofibers with an average diameter of ~100 nm. All of these lactobacilli were viable after incorporation into nanofibers, with 0 to 3 log CFU/mg loss in viability, depending on the species. Viability correlated with the hydrophobicity and extreme length of lactic acid bacteria, whereas a horizonal or vertical electrospinning set-up did not have any role. Therefore, electrospinning represents a promising method for the incorporation of lactic acid bacteria into solid delivery systems, while drying the bacterial dispersion at the same time.
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