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Aspects of in vitro and in vivo research approaches directed towards identifying probiotics and prebiotics for human use

Fuller, R. and Gibson, G. (2000) Aspects of in vitro and in vivo research approaches directed towards identifying probiotics and prebiotics for human use. Journal of Nutrition (130). 391S-395S. ISSN 1541-6100

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Abstract/Summary

The microbiota of the human gastrointestinal tract plays a key role in nutrition and health. Through the process of fermentation, gut bacteria metabolize various substrates (principally dietary components) to end products such as short-chain fatty acids and gases. This anaerobic metabolism is thought to contribute positively toward host daily energy requirements. However, under certain circumstances, the fermentative process may produce undesirable metabolites. This may cause the onset of gut disorders that can be manifest through both acute and chronic conditions. Moreover, the gut flora may become contaminated by transient pathogens that serve further to upset the normal community structure. There has been a recent increase in the use of dietary components that help to maintain, or even improve, the gut microflora "balance." Probiotics are live microbial feed supplements added to appropriate food vehicles (usually fermented milks), whereas prebiotics are dietary carbohydrates that have a selective metabolism in the colon and serve to increase numbers of bacteria seen as desirable. Because of their purported health-promoting properties, lactic acid-producing bacteria, including bifidobacteria, are the usual target organisms. The market value and biological potential of both approaches are enormous. This article will summarize how efficacious types can be identified.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Microbial Sciences Research Group
ID Code:35396
Publisher:American Society for Nutrition

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