Established and emerging prebiotics and their effects on the gut microflora
Drakoularakou, A., McCartney, A., Rastall, R. and Gibson, G.R. (2004) Established and emerging prebiotics and their effects on the gut microflora. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech, 15 (5). pp. 18-20. ISSN 1722-6996
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The use of probiotics combined with prebiotics (synbiotics) has been proved to be more and more interesting in the market of functional foods. The use of probiotics alone has a long history whereas the concept of prebiotics is rather new, introduced by Gibson & Roberfroid(1). Efficient prebiotics are considered the compounds that are not digested and selectively promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms (such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) in the colon. Some established prebiotics that are currently used in the European market are fructooligosaccharides (FOS), galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and inulin. However, there are more compounds considered as "emerging prebiotics" which have not been established yet, but there is a need of further investigation on them. Some of them are oligomers of soya & xylan, isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO), polydextrose and possibly some oligosaccharides in honey. There is still an incomplete picture of their fermentation properties but according to the studies performed till now, it is quite possible that these molecules might have the same or more desirable properties than the established ones. In this review, the effects of the established and emerging prebiotics on the gut microflora are presented, based on in vitro and in vivo studies (healthy volunteers).