A new immune-health ingredient called Staimune is an inactivated form of the infamous Ganeden BC30 Bacillus coagulans branded probiotic strain from supplier Ganeden (Cleveland). The company, which formally introduced Staimune at this week’s Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) trade show in Las Vegas, says that Staimune is geared towards manufacturers looking for an immune-specific ingredient and works especially well in shelf-stable beverages.
Staimune is derived from the cells of Ganeden’s BC30 probiotic ingredient; however, unlike BC30, which is a spore-forming probiotic whose beneficial bacteria remain dormant and begin germinating when exposed to certain pH levels, temperatures, and water-activity levels in the gut, Staimune’s probiotic properties are “inactivated” from the start, explained Teresa DeJohn, Ganeden’s public relations manager.
This means that Staimune is not actually a probiotic ingredient. “We inactivated the bacteria, which means we killed it off,” she said. “We took the living organism, inactivated it, and took the cells that were part of BC30 [to create Staimune].” The company refers to Staimune as “probiotic derived.”
Ganeden says that its past research on the Ganeden BC30 probiotic strain showed that the immune-health effects coming from BC30 actually stemmed from the cells of the ingredient instead of from the bacteria’s living organisms. David Keller, Ganeden’s vice president of scientific operations, explained further: “The immune effect actually stems from the body’s recognition of the walls of the bacteria, so that immune function is there whether the bacteria is alive or whether the bacteria is dead or inactivated like we have with Staimune. As long as you’re delivering the cells, you get the immune function.”
And while the Ganeden BC30 probiotic ingredient offers both digestive and immune-health benefits, Staimune provides only immune-health benefits. “So if someone doesn’t want to do the full probiotic with digestive and immune-health benefits, and they just want immune health, they can use Staimune instead,” DeJohn said.
DeJohn added that she doesn’t think Staimune would steal any market share or spotlight from Ganeden BC30. “Immune health isn’t usually the main focus that manufacturers are going after when fortifying with GanedenBC30—they are most interested in being able to label the product as probiotic,” she said. “Digestive heath and immune health are closely tied, and normally companies are using GanedenBC30 at the inclusion level where they can make both health claims. Staimune is more suitable for a company that wants just immune health benefits in the product, or for products where probiotic formulation is a challenge. It depends on the product and the category, but we don’t foresee a lot of overlap.”
With demand for immune health so high these days, the company says it is already seeing a lot of interest in Staimune. “Immune health is a very popular category, just like digestive health is,” DeJohn said. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest especially from companies that are focusing on products that are specifically about immune health.”
Staimune also offers one important formulating benefit that the Ganeden BC30 probiotic does not: it can be used in shelf-stable beverages. While the Ganeden BC30 probiotic is used across an extensive range of food, beverage, and supplement products, and under a wide range of processing conditions, shelf-stable beverages have always remained a challenge for BC30 because the ingredient begins to germinate in high-water-activity environments and at warmer temperatures, DeJohn said. She added that a few shelf-stable beverages using Ganeden BC30 have solved the problem by storing the active ingredient in a beverage bottle’s cap until the moment it the drink is consumed.
Because Staimune is not a living organism and does not germinate like a probiotic does, it sidesteps these formulating challenges and can work not only in shelf-stable beverages but also in a wide range of other product environments. The company says Staimune can be used in food, beverage, and even companion-animal products without altering a product’s taste or texture.
“Staimune will open up endless opportunities for manufacturers with immune-focused products, and for products with processes that cause formulation challenges for live probiotics,” the firm said in a press release, adding that the ingredient now has FDA GRAS standing. In addition, the firm says, the ingredient is cost-effective because it can be used at an inclusion level of just 50 mg in order to see health benefits.
Ganeden says the ingredient will be available commercially later this summer and that there may be products on shelf featuring Staimune by the end of year. DeJohn says there are human clinical studies underway on the ingredient, with results expected this fall.
“After seeing the impressive immune-supporting benefits of Ganeden BC30, we decided to dive further into the mechanism of action,” said Michael Bush, president and CEO of Ganeden, in a press release. “We discovered and ultimately patented this novel ingredient, which provides the opportunity to share the immune benefits of the probiotic in product formats that do not support the use of the live organism.”