In 1905, Dr Kakutaro of Japan encountered “The Prolongation of Life” written by Elie Metchnikoff, a 1908 Nobel Prize winner. In the book, it mentioned that people in Bulgaria were long lived and linked their health with a regular consumption of milk-fermented yoghurt (Lactobacillus bulgaricus). Metchnikoff proposed Lactobacillus Therapy, a world first which was based on the idea that “Diseases and senility were caused by self-poisoning of intestinal bacteria toxin, and the most effective way to improve inner health was using Lactobacillus.” Dr Kakutaro was strongly impressed by “The Prolongation of Life” and started trying Lactobacillus therapy by eating yoghurt. “I want to save people with Lactobacillus, and a first step of it is manufacturing and sale of yoghurt". He finally opened a Lactobacillus research laboratory and yoghurt factory in Kyoto 1914 and became the first yoghurt manufacturer in Japan.
The passing years saw great advancement of fermentation technology. Dr Kakutaro’s son, B&S Corporation founder and biologist Kazuyoshi Masagaki followed in his father’s footsteps. In 1925, Kazuyoshi pioneered the development of 4 Lactobacillus species that were co-cultured in milk and the origin of modern Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) beverages in Japan had begun. That lead to the discovery of 8 other strains that were beneficial to the host and by 1945, 16 species were successfully co-cultured. During this time, a significant turning point occurred; changing the cultured medium from milk (containing animal proteins) to soymilk (plant derivation) and the research shifting from live bacteria to non-living lactobacillus extracts.
Dissatisfied with the effects of live bacteria fermented solutions in achieving digestive health, Kazuyoshi continued his research and shifted his focus on Lactobacillus metabolite/secretion technology (fermented by-products). After years of dedication, the breakthrough occurred in 1982 in the success of developing a Lactic Acid Bacteria Extract formula. 16 strains of Lactobacillus are fermented in soymilk, aged for one year and strengthened, then only the specific bioactive ingredients are extracted by a proprietary method that include bacteria body substances, flavonoids, amino acid derivatives and metabolites/secretions (lactic acid, secretory peptides).
The Lactobacillus extract that Kazuyoshi Masagaki led the world in developing 30 years ago is now garnering a lot of attention in many fields. It is just recently that researchers are paying more attention to Lactobacillus metabolites & Lactobacillus cellular extracts in health related fields. A new era in biogenics has just began.