The importance of probiotics and their live delivery in the gastrointestinal tract has gained much importance in the recent past. Many reports have indicated that there is poor viability of probiotic bacteria in dairy based products, both fermented and non-fermented, and also in the human gastro-intestinal system is questionable. In this case, microencapsulation is the most significant emerging and efficient technology that is being used for the preservation of probiotics against adverse environmental conditions. Apart from different techniques of microencapsulation, various types of encapsulating materials are also used for the process, namely, alginate, chitosan, carrageenan, gums (locust bean, gellan gum, xanthan gum, etc.), gelatin, whey protein, starch, and compression coating. Each one of the encapsulating materials has its own unique characteristics of capsule formation and provision of shape, appearance, and strength to microbeads. The type of encapsulating material also influences the viability of probiotics during storage, processing, and in the gastrointestinal tract. The effectiveness of any material depends not upon its capsule forming capability, strength, and enhancing viability but also on its cheapness, availability, and biocompatibility. So, added convenience and reduced packaging costs may also be used to offset the cost of encapsulating one or more ingredients. Encapsulated forms of ingredients provide a longer shelf life for the product.
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