Probiotics are live micro-organisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide health benefits. These micro-organisms, usually strains of beneficial bacteria, may be sensitive to environmental conditions, such as temperature or humidity, which can affect their viability and efficacy. Therefore, it is crucial to find methods of preservation that maintain probiotics’ stability during storage and transport. Freeze-drying is a commonly used technique for preserving micro-organisms, including probiotics, owing to its ability to maintain cell viability.

Freeze-drying is a process that involves the removal of water from a frozen material through sublimation. In this process, the material is quickly frozen and then subjected to a vacuum, which allows the water to change from a solid to gaseous state without passing through a liquid state. Freeze-drying preserves cell structures and prevents damage caused by the formation of ice crystals during conventional dehydration.

Lyophilisation: moisture content.

Moisture analysis in the lab.

Advantages of freeze-drying probiotics

  1. Greater stability: Freeze-drying protects probiotics from fluctuations in temperature and humidity, which can compromise their viability. By removing water from the material, unwanted chemical and biological reactions are prevented, which prolongs their life span.
  1. Retention of biological activity: Studies have shown that freeze-dried probiotics maintain their ability to colonise the intestinal tract and cause beneficial health effects.
  1. Easy storage and transport: Freeze-dried probiotics take up less space and are lighter than probiotics in liquid or powder form, making them easier to store and transport.
  1. Greater versatility and convenience: Freeze-dried probiotics can be easily mixed with other foods or supplements, allowing them to be incorporated into a wide variety of products.

Challenges and considerations for freeze-dried probiotics

Despite the advantages, freeze-drying probiotics also presents specific challenges. During the freeze-drying process, probiotics may be exposed to stressful conditions which may affect their viability and stability. Therefore, it is important to optimise the freeze-drying conditions, such as freezing time, vacuum pressure and the addition of cryoprotectants.

In addition, freeze-dried probiotics should be stored under appropriate conditions to maintain their viability. Prolonged storage at inappropriate temperatures or without an adequate moisture barrier can decrease the viability of probiotics.

Conclusion on freeze-drying of probiotics

Freeze-drying of probiotics and prebiotics (synbiotics) at Barnalab.

Freeze-drying is an efficient and widely used technique for preserving probiotics. By offering greater stability and viability, freeze-drying allows probiotics to maintain their biological activity and health benefits during storage and transport. However, it is important to optimise the freeze-drying process and storage conditions to ensure maximum effectiveness of the freeze-dried probiotics. Continued research in this field could help to further improve the use of probiotics in diverse products and applications.

Advantages of combining probiotics with prebiotics (synbiotics)

The benefits of combining probiotics with prebiotics, known as synbiotics, are numerous and they complement each other to synergistically support intestinal health.

Some of the main advantages of this combination are detailed below:

  1. Improved survival and colonisation: Prebiotics act as a nutrient substrate for probiotics. When combined, prebiotics provide a favourable environment for probiotics to survive and adhere to the intestinal mucosa, thus increasing the likelihood of successful colonisation. This synergy ensures that probiotics will reach their destination with increased viability and persistence in the intestine.
  1. Stimulating the growth of probiotics: Because prebiotics are not digested in the stomach and small intestine, they reach the large intestine intact, where they become a substrate for the selective growth of beneficial bacteria. By stimulating the growth of specific probiotics, prebiotics enhance the efficacy and positive effects of probiotics on the intestinal microbiota.
  1. Enhancement of beneficial effects: Combining probiotics and prebiotics can enhance the positive effects of each individually. As live microorganisms, Probiotics offer direct benefits for intestinal health, such as improving digestion, strengthening the immune system and regulating the microbiota. Prebiotics, by selectively nourishing probiotics, help maintain their function and promote their growth. Together, this synergistic combination can have a more pronounced effect on the balance and health of the intestine.
  1. Broad spectrum of action: Probiotics and prebiotics can have different mechanisms of action and act in different parts of the intestine. By combining them, a more comprehensive coverage of the different regions of the gastrointestinal tract is achieved and microbiota imbalances and intestinal conditions are addressed more holistically.
  1. Versatility in applications and forms of consumption: The combination of probiotics and prebiotics allows for a wide variety of applications and forms of consumption, whether in functional foods, supplements or even pharmaceutical forms. This provides convenience and flexibility to effectively include them in the daily diet and adapt to individual preferences.

Thus, the combination of probiotics with prebiotics offers significant benefits for improving intestinal health and promoting optimal microbiota balance. Working in synergy, these components enhance each other, providing increased survival and colonisation of probiotics, stimulating their growth, strengthening their beneficial effects and providing broad coverage in the gastrointestinal tract. This combination is versatile in terms of applications and forms of consumption, making it an attractive option for promoting intestinal health in a holistic way.

Freeze-dried synbiotics: still an unusual practice

Functional foods: synbiotics, probiotics and prebiotics.

Although synbiotics are generally found in the form of supplements or fresh foods, they are not commonly found in freeze-dried form. However, at Barnalab they can be recombined to produce them.


  1. Freeze-dried bifidobacterium breve with inulin: Bifodobacterium breve is a strain of probiotic bacteria found naturally in the human intestine. Inulin is a type of prebiotic that helps stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
  1. Freeze-dried Lactobacillus acidophilus with fructooligosaccharides (FOS): Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic strain found naturally in the human intestine. FOSs are a type of prebiotic that help stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
  1. Freeze-dried Lactobacillus rhamnosus with galactooligosaccharides (GOS): Lactobacillus rhamnosus is another commonly used probiotic strain. GOSs are a type of prebiotic that is similar to FOSs, and they also help stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
  1. Freeze-dried Saccharomyces boulardii with mannanoligosaccharides (MOS): Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast strain that is often used to balance the intestinal flora. MOSs are a type of prebiotic that help stimulate the growth of saccharomyces boulardii in the intestine.

It is important to note that the availability of these specific freeze-dried products may vary by supplier and market.

Do you want to freeze-dry your product?

The profitability of freeze-drying probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics.

The profitability of freeze-dried synbiotics can depend on several factors, including production cost, selling price, market demand and competition.

However, in general, freeze-drying of products in the synbiotic and probiotic range can have both benefits and challenges in terms of profitability.


Immunonutrition: probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics.
  1. Longer shelf life: Freeze-drying is a dehydration process that helps to preserve foods and prolong their shelf life. It can reduce wastage and the costs associated with expiry of shelf life.
  1. Preservation of properties: Freeze-drying preserves products’ nutritional properties, taste, texture and aroma. This can result in high quality products that can attract consumers and potentially generate higher profitability.


Further, there are challenges that can affect the profitability of freeze-dried synbiotics:

  1. Production costs: Freeze-drying is a relatively costly process that requires specialised equipment. Investment, maintenance and energy costs can influence the profitability of the final product. At Barnalab, with the experience we have in this exclusive sector, we keep costs down by applying the most cutting-edge technology.
  1. Market competition: Depending on the market and region, there may be competition and saturation in synbiotic products. This can affect both price and demand, which can impact profitability.

In summary, the cost-effectiveness of freeze-dried synbiotics will depend on a number of factors and it is important to make a detailed and specific analysis of the market and associated costs in order to assess their potential profitability. If you are interested in starting a business related to freeze-dried synbiotic products, I would recommend consulting with Barnalab and experts in the field of food and nutrition for a more complete and up-to-date perspective.