The Potential of Probiotics: A Review

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The Potential of Probiotics: A Review

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Carlos Ricardo Soccol1, Luciana Porto de Souza Vandenberghe1, Michele Rigon Spier1,

Adriane Bianchi Pedroni Medeiros1, Caroline Tiemi Yamaguishi1, Juliano De Dea Lindner1,2, Ashok Pandey3 and Vanete Thomaz-Soccol1,4

1Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology Department, Federal University of Paraná (UFPR),81531-990 Curitiba-PR, Brazil

2State University of Santa Catarina, Food Engineering Department, BR 282, Km 573 Santa Teresinha, 89870-000 Pinhalzinho SC, Brazil

3Biotechnology Division, National Institut for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, CSIR, Trivandrum, 695 019, India

4Positivo University, Industrial Biotechnology Department, Av. Pedro Parigot de Souza 5300,81280-330, Curitiba-PR, Brazil

Probiotics, live cells with different beneficiary characteristics, have been extensively studied and explored commercially in many different products in the world. Their benefits to human and animal health have been proven in hundreds of scientific research. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the main probiotic groups; however, there are reports on the probiotic potential of PediococcusLactococcusBacillus and yeasts. Some of the identified probiotic strains exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and other important properties.

Apart from that, the consumption of dairy and non-dairy products stimulates the immunity in different ways. Various food matrices have been used with probiotics, which are briefly documented. In this review, the history of probiotics, their application in the health and food areas and new trends in probiotic products and processes are presented.

Probiotic is a relatively new word meaning ‘for life’, which is used to name microorganisms that are associated with the beneficial effects for humans and animals.These microorganisms contribute to intestinal microbial balance and play a role in maintaining health. The probiotic microorganisms consist mostly of the strains of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, but strains of Bacillus, Pediococcus and some yeasts have also been found as suitable candidates. Together they play an important role in the protection of the organism against harmful microorganisms and also strengthen the host’s immune system. Probiotics can be found in dairy and non-dairy products. They are usually consumed after the antibiotic therapy (for some illnesses), which destroys the microbial flora present in the digestive tract (both the useful and the targeted harmful microbes). Regular consumption of food containing probiotic microorganisms is recommended to establish a positive balance of the population of useful or beneficial microbes in the intestinal flora.

Probiotics have been extensively studied and explored commercially in many different products in the world. Recent studies have suggested that probiotics have demonstrated beneficial effects on human and animal health. Much of the clinical probiotic research has been aimed at infantile, antibiotic-related and traveller’s diarrhoea. The non-pathogenic organisms used as probiotics consist of a wide variety of species and subspecies, and the ability to adhere, colonize and modulate the human gastrointestinal system is not a universal property.Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the main probiotic groups; however, there are reports on the probiotic potential of yeasts.

Future research must investigate the mechanisms by which gut microflora interacts with the intestinal epithelium in health and disease. With this knowledge, optimal probiotic strains can be developed. The viability of probiotics is a key parameter for developing probiotic food products. New technologies have been developed to enable high cell yield at large scale and ensure probiotic stability for a long period of food. With different technologies, such as microencapsulation, cell immobilization and continuous fermentation, the probiotics will become an important and viable ingredient in the functional foods, expanding the probiotic application outside the pharmaceutical and supplement industries.

Source: Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology Department, Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), 81531-990 Curitiba-PR, Brazil – Image source:

See all in C.R. SOCCOL et al.: The Potential of Probiotics, Food Technol. Biotechnol. 48 (4) 413–434 (2010)

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