qPCR and Viability PCR

We use qPCR for probiotic identification and viability PCR for viable cell count.


qPCR is a strong DNA-based analytical tool that can detect single strains in multiple component probiotic blends. For identification, our method allows us to do strain specific identification versus other methodologies that only do species level identification. This is important because probiotic health benefits are strain specific.

Viability PCR

For viable cell count testing, we use viability PCR. It is sensitive, fast, and accurate. It is also strain specific and can accurately quantify the individual viable microorganisms in a multi-ingredient blended product. For a probiotic to be effective and confer a health benefit, the strain needs to be live and at an expected concentration.

Probiotic Health Benefits are Strain Specific

Probiotic health benefits are strain specific and dose dependent. Therefore authenticity testing for probiotics requires reliable methods that can achieve strain-level identification and viable cell count of multi-strain probiotic products.

In qPCR, a specific sequence region of DNA is targeted and amplified to rapidly create millions of copies of this region to make it detectable. Methods are developed for each target probiotic strain to ensure specificity and no cross reactivity with closely related strains, making it ideal to identify target strains in raw ingredients as well as in multi-strain finished products.

Genus, Species and Strain

  • Probiotic health benefits are strain specific
  • Species level ID does not identify which strain is in the product
  • In products with multiple strains from the same species, species level ID can't confirm the presence of multiple strains

Why Viable Cell Count Is Essential for Quality Probiotic Products

Viable cell count is a crucial step in the evaluation of probiotic products. By accurately quantifying the number of viable microorganisms in a probiotic sample, several product aspects can be assured: product quality, efficacy, production, comparison, and regulatory compliance.

Viable cell count refers to the process of quantifying the number of viable microorganisms in a sample of a probiotic product. The number of live bacteria present in the product can have a significant impact on its therapeutic benefits. 

Here are some of the key reasons why viable cell count is important in probiotics:

Ensuring product quality and efficacy

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The number of live bacteria present in a probiotic supplement is a critical indicator of its quality. Live microorganisms are directly related to the intended health benefits. By accurately quantifying the bacteria in a product, a manufacturer can determine the appropriate dosage needed to achieve the desired health effects throughout to end of shelf life.

Confirms product label claims

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Probiotic products often include label claims about the number of live microorganisms they contain. Viable cell count allows manufacturers to confirm that their product meets these claims and ensure that customers are receiving a high-quality product that meets their expectations.

Identifying potential production issues

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Viable cell count can also help to identify issues with the production, storage, or handling of a probiotic product. For example, low levels of live bacteria may indicate a problem with the manufacturing process or that the product has been stored incorrectly.

Ensuring regulatory compliance

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Viable cell count is often required by regulatory bodies to ensure that probiotic products meet certain quality standards. By following standardized protocols and using validated methods for enumeration, manufacturers can ensure that their products meet regulatory requirements.

Enabling comparison between products

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Viable cell count allows for the comparison of different probiotic products, providing valuable information for consumers and healthcare professionals who need to choose between various options.

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