Current & Future Aspects of Probiotics

The interest in establishing scientific credibility for probiotic effects is of high importance to companies and scientists. Research to support health will have to take into account the intestinal microbiota and its interaction with the host. One of the reasons that raised skepticism in the field is the vast array of health benefits attributed to Lactic acid bacteria strains especially and the variety or diversity of experimental approaches. The recently developed molecular techniques will certainly help in acquiring a better understanding of the complex interaction between the gut ecosystem and the probiotic strain. A multidisciplinary approach, combining molecular taxonomy and biology,  immunology, modern microbial ecology, physiology, gastroenterology and biochemistry, will be necessary to gain knowledge in the crosstalk that most certainly takes place between the the host cells and intestinal microbes. While unraveling of the mechanism of action may greatly facilitate future selection of novel probiotic strains with a specific health benefit, any postulated effects will have to be definitely proven by well-conducted clinical studies. This might be easier to achieve when targeting the improvement of pathological situations.
The human gut microbiota composed of nearly a thousand different types of micro-organisms plays an important role in health and disease. This is due to the presence of probiotic or beneficial microbes, or due to the feeding of prebiotics that stimulate the endogenous beneficial microbes. These promote health by stimulating the immune system, improving the digestion and absorption of nutrients, and inhibiting the growth of pathogens. The notable health benefits of probiotic organisms have stimulated much commercial interest, which in turn has led to a plethora of research initiatives in this area. These range from studies to elucidate the efficacy of the various health benefits to analyses of the diet-microbe interaction as a means of modulating the gut microbiota composition.
  • Functional aspects of probiotics and the impact on human health
  • Lactobacilli as probiotics: Discovering new functional aspects and target sites
  • Bifidobacteria: Regulators of intestinal homeostasis
  • Propionibacteria have probiotic potential
  • Non-LAB probiotics: Spore formers
  • Mechanisms of action of probiotic yeasts
  • The indigenous microbiota and its potential to exhibit probiotic properties
  • Metagenomics as a tool for discovery of new probiotics and prebiotics
  • Emerging applications of established prebiotics
  • Applications of probiotics and prebiotics in infant development

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