CONTACT: Jane Luht, Head of Technology Transfer, Phone: +372 737 4804, E-mail:

The University of Tartu is looking for additional partners to develop functional food products with proprietary probiotic strain ME-3. Ideal partners would have the ability to access international health driven consumers and launch several functional food products.


Discovered over 20 years ago, ME-3 has been extensively studied and tested in several human clinical studies, most of them focusing on cardiovascular disease parameters.

The most remarkable effect of ME-3 is its capacity to reduce the oxidation of blood lipids, particularly the levels of oxLDL, which is a major contributor to atherosclerosis development.


Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 is a probiotic strain of human origin. It has several functional properties: antimicrobial – suppresses harmful microbes, supports host defense systems as a natural antioxidant – enriches GI microflora and supports by this its functions.


Strong resistance to gastro-intestinal environment (bile acids, low pH), lectin profile (BS-I) suitable for adhesion to gut epithelium. Doesn’t suppress other beneficial bacteria and promotes the growth of bifidobacteria in gut.


The similar anti-oxidative properties to those found in dark chocolate are achievable in good quality milk chocolate by adding ME-3. Milk as a wholefood provides good quality proteins and lowers the cost of goods (less cacao needed for the product).

  • All ME-3 properties survive in chocolate, data from a pilot study is available (85%, 70%, 56% and 30% cacao in content, held at 42°C for 3 weeks).
  • The anti-oxidative properties of the strain can also suppress the rancidation of fats, by reducing possible formation of aldehydes.
  • A small trial (50 persons, 8 weeks) would be needed to check the end product and any added values for the exact combination e.g anti-diabetic effect.
  • Up to 25 grams of chocolate daily is considered part of a normal diet (depending from the sugar and fat content).
  • ME-3 is a multifunctional strain, suited for different applications, e.g. for the general population, a heart-health focused product (high-normal cholesterol) and possibly for high-normal blood sugar populations (diabetes). The strain can be incorporated into different specialized products according to shifts in product trends.


Patented in Russia, Europe, USA. Patents are pending for additional properties in Europe, US and Asia.


QPS status granted by EFSA. Safety of the strain demonstrated by human clinical trials, confirmed by history of human consumption without side effects.

Figure 1. Reg’Activ food suplement including ME-3


Since 2002 University of Tartu has had several industrial partners in Estonia and abroad (EU, US, KR) using ME-3 in their products: cheese, milk, fermented milk drinks and food (kefir, drinking and spoonable yoghurt, quark, sour cream), ice cream, fresh cheese, semi-hard cheese, multi-strain products, food supplements. Hellus dairy products, Reg’Activ and BioOne food supplement products are currently available on market.


University of Tartu is looking for new licensees in food. Several exclusive and non-exclusive licenses are available, for example: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, UK, and Denmark.

ME-3 doesn’t change the taste and texture of the product and won’t interfere to the fermentation process by regular fermenting strains. Survival data exists on non-dairy applications – plant milk substitutes, oil and chocolate.

Stain is currently produced by experienced Italian company under ISO 9001 quality standard.