Challenge accepted . . . A guide to understanding enzyme and probiotic testing
Similarities between enzyme activity assays and probiotic enumeration are more common than most people realize. Both methods of testing require many dilutions, multiple calculations and are technique-driven. Our lab performs the probiotic colony forming unit (CFU) assays in our microbiology lab, and enzyme activities are tested in our chemistry lab. Both probiotics and enzymes aid in digestion and have potency that cannot be measured by weight or mg. Instead, probiotics are measured by CFUs and enzymes are measured in various activity units, with both having a variety of assay methods available. The ingredient supplier will often have a specific method for their product, and there may also be compendial methods listed in the Food Chemical Codex (FCC). While probiotic suppliers have not started standardizing to the compendial methods as of yet, enzyme ingredient suppliers use the FCC methods to standardize their products, for the most part. As time goes on, the probiotic industry may start standardizing to similar methods like the enzyme industry.
Both probiotic enumeration and enzyme activity assays listed in the FCC, are designed for raw material ingredients. Ideally, these assays should be performed on an ingredient before it is blended with other ingredients or encapsulated as a finished product. When multiple enzymes or probiotic strains are blended together, the testing becomes more difficult. There are common interferences with blended enzymes products, and also challenges with the multiple probiotic blends. Since each blend is unique and will interact in its own way, testing them can be tricky. However, it is possible to have successful results and gain valuable data about your product when tested correctly.
But, just as there are many similarities, there are also differences. Probiotic strains are living organisms, where enzymes are not. Instead, enzymes are ingredients, which break down food, whereas probiotics add to our gut flora for various health benefits. Lastly, enzyme activity is measured by substrate breakdown, instead of plate growth which measures probiotics.
Ultimately, both have complex test methods and require a high level of expertise and years of practice to perform accurately. SORA Labs is your trusted partner for both enzyme and probiotic testing. With developed methods, we can help you learn more about your product through testing. Testing is the only valid method to prove the quality of your product, so choosing an experienced lab is a must. Call us today for a quote!