OrganoBalance GmbH, BASF develop pro-t-action product based on probiotic microorganisms

April 1, 2009
Active ingredient can be integrated into consumer products for daily oral care.

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany and MIAMI, Florida--With an eye to help remedy a main cause of tooth decay that affects an estimated 5 billion people worldwide, BASF and OrganoBalance GmbH are set to commercialize pro-t-action.

Based on probiotic microorganisms (scientific name: Lactobacillus), the active ingredient in pro-t-action binds to and can eliminate caries-causing bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) from the mouth.

The Berlin-based OrganoBalance is specialized in microbial strain development and microbiological screening. Together, the companies identified a particular strain of Lactobacillus paracasei.

BASF has since developed a proprietary production process enabling the active ingredient to be integrated into daily consumer products like toothpaste, mouthwash, candies, lozenges, and chewing gums used for daily oral care.

Caries-causing bacteria in the oral cavity, like Streptococcus mutans, initiate the onset of tooth decay, converting the sugar from food into acids. These acids ultimately destroy tooth enamel, reducing essential minerals protecting the teeth and thus leading to lesions or cavities.

Shown in testing, the active ingredient, L. paracasei, in pro-t-action has the ability to target the caries-causing bacteria, bind ing exclusively to them and clumping them.

When aggregated and grouped in this way, the bacteria can be flushed out of the oral cavity by normal swallowing or rinsing. Needing to remain in the oral cavity for only a minimum of 10 seconds to become active, pro-t-action is tasteless, odorless, pH-neutral, and helps to maintain the healthy and beneficial microflora in the oral cavity.

"Working closely with OrganoBalance, we have been able to identify the L. paracasei strain that effectively and exclusively binds to the caries bacteria and in doing so improves elimination from the mouth," said Dr. Markus Pompejus, senior manager BASF Future Business GmbH.

"The effectiveness of the active ingredients combined with BASF's ability to offer a product ready for incorporation into everyday oral care products, truly represents new and exciting possibilities in the way of significantly improving oral health."

Research on L. paracasei for the development of pro-t-action was conducted as a joint effort by OrganoBalance and BASF, in collaboration with the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

The findings of the research, led by Dr. Jason M. Tanzer, University of Connecticut Health Center, and those of Dr. Christine Lang, OrganoBalance, will be presented April 1-4 at the International Association of Dental Research annual conference in Miami, Fla.

Dr. Lang will provide details into the research conducted to identify the appropriate strain of Lactobacillus with the ability to bind specifically to Streptococcus mutans.

"OrganoBalance's large proprietary strain collection and the unique screening capabilities were an important basis for this research," said Dr. Lang. "Application testing together with BASF revealed the potential for improved oral care."

Dr. Tanzer will present his work, focusing on the blinded testing that was conducted, to reveal a significant reduction--as much as 40 percent--in the level of colonization of Streptococcus mutans on the teeth, along with a substantial reduction of caries.

"The laboratory tests conducted at the University of Connecticut Health Center demonstrated the ability of the L. paracasei used in pro-t-action to significantly reduce the levels of decay up to 27 percent on average," said Dr. Tanzer.

"These findings, which are the logical consequence of the ability of selected L. paracasei to specifically clump Streptococcus mutans, present an intriguing new approach to controlling this miserable, prevalent, and costly disease, tooth decay."

The active ingredient in pro-t-action, L. paracasei, is a natural active ingredient with a specific and selective mode of action. During production, only selected natural ingredients, trace elements, salts and natural pro-t-action microorganisms are used.

The microorganisms are fermented, and stabilized, pasteurized and dried after harvesting. Like with all BASF products, comprehensive safety and toxicological testing have been conducted.

The development of pro-t-action is part of BASF's research and advancement in white biotechnology otherwise known as industrial biotechnology. In white biotechnology, BASF combines expertise in biocatalysis and fermentation technology with core competencies in chemistry, process know-how and application technology to create solutions for customers.

The focus of this research is on new enzyme-catalyzed products and processes, the development of new bio-based products, and the increased use of renewable raw materials.

Further information on BASF Future Business is available on the Internet at BASF.

To read more about tooth decay, go to tooth decay.

To comment on this topic, go to PennWell Dental Community site.