Gut Health

Research: COLORSPORE: Carotenoid Producing Probiotic Bacillus indicus (HU36) and its Use as a Functional Food and Dietary Supplements


ColorsporeTM Bacillus indicus HU36 (Bacillus HU36) is a unique patented strain of Gram-positive spore forming bacterium that produces a distinct yellow-orange pigmentation. The pigmentation is due to the synthesis of carotenoids, which are gastric stable, bio-accessible, and significantly more bioavailable than carotenoids from other sources. The Bacillus HU36 spores can survive the harsh conditions associated with food processing and may be incorporated into a range of food matrices without the need for refrigeration. This probiotic is also uniquely stable in liquids at room temperature and will remain dormant in non-refrigerated beverages. Bacillus HU36 was developed at London University as a part of the Colorspore Projecta consortium funded by the European Unionand is the first ingredient to encompass a market worth more than $75 billion. The project has comprehensively annotated Bacillus HU36, developed optimal bioprocess conditions for the production of carotenoid containing bacterial spores, demonstrated bio-accessibility and bioavailability, completed in-vivo and in-vitro toxicity, safety studies, and developed formulations for different food prototypes. Bacillus HU36 is the new paradigm in probiotic therapy and opens up a new range of delivery formats for companies in the food and dietary supplement markets.

From a commercial perspective, a probiotic supplement that can be stored at room temperature in a desiccated form, which does not need freeze- or spray-drying or complicated encapsulation methods, is operationally attractive and economically advantageous. The ability of Bacillus HU36 spores to survive harsh food processing conditions and the gastric environment, without loss of function or viability to colonize the gut, and the significant antioxidant potency of the carotenoids produced, offers new opportunities in human and animal nutrition frontiers and a competitive advantage with a significant barrier to entry. Bacillus HU36 is a new paradigm in the use of probiotics for health and nutrition as it goes beyond the standard expectation of immune stimulation and digestive health, since it acts as a potent, nutritional source of key antioxidants that are more bioavailable than supplements and purified versions. 


Executive Summary

ColorsporeTM, Bacillus indicus HU36 is a unique strain of Gram-positive spore forming Bacillus species that produces a distinct yellow-orange pigmentation. Developed at London University as part of the Colorspore Project, funded with over €3 million by the European Union, this patented strain is a unique and valuable nutritional supplement and functional ingredient with a number of attributes, including:

  • Rich pigmentation due to in-vivo synthesis of a number of carotenoids

  • Carotenoids that are gastric stable and offer a unique source of nutritious compounds

  • Proven immune stimulation and competitive exclusion of intestinal pathogens

  • Robust spores that can be incorporated into food matrices without the need for refrigeration and stable in a variety of beverages including fruit and dairy

  • Ability to withstand heating at 235oC up to 8 minutes, which allows for incorporation into a number of cooked and baked food products

  • Stable as a nutritional supplement and food coloring

  • Proven safe in extensive toxicology and feeding studies

  • A fully sequenced genome

  • Patent protection for the use of Bacillus indicus HU36 to deliver gastric stable carotenoids

The in-vivo production along with the robustness of both the probiotic and the carotenoids, which can withstand not only processing conditions but also gastric juices and still offer high bio- accessibility and bioavailability that is superior to its counterparts in the marketplace, offers a bottom-line savings to every node in the value chain. Bacillus HU36 offers, for the first time, a technology and product combination that can serve a total market of over $75 billion dollars, which encompasses ingredients and finished products including supplements, foods and feeds at the intersection of carotenoids, antioxidants and probiotic fortification.

Tasks completed under the Colorspore Project include: comprehensively annotated genome of Bacillus HU36, optimization of bioprocess conditions for the production of carotenoid containing bacterial spores, demonstrations of carotenoid bio-accessibility and bioavailability, in-vivo and in-vitro toxicity and safety studies, and formulation studies of application of Bacillus HU36 in several food prototypes.