Probiotic Potential in Fermented Food


Probiotics have been defined a number of times. Presently the most common definition is that from the FAO/WHO which states that probiotics are “live microorganisms that, administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

One of the most significant groups of probiotic organisms are the lactic acid bacteria, commonly used in fermented dairy products. There is an increase in interest in these species as research is beginning to reveal the many possible health benefits associated with lactic acid bacteria. The difficulty in identifying and classifying strains has complicated research, since benefits may only be relevant to particular strains.

Nevertheless, lactic acid bacteria have a number of well-established and potential benefits. They can improve lactose digestion, play a role in preventing and treating diarrhoea and act on the immune system, helping the body to resist and fight infection. More work needs to be done to authenticate the role lactic acid bacteria might play in anti-tumour effects, hyper cholesterol effects, preventing urogenital infections, alleviating constipation and treating food allergy.

Probiotics can turn many health benefits to the human, animals, and plants. Applications of probiotics hold many challenges. In addition to the viability and sensory acceptance, it must be kept in mind that strain selection, processing, and inoculation of starter cultures must be considered. Probiotics industry also faces challenges when claiming the health benefits. It cannot be assumed that imply adding a given number of probiotic bacteria to a food product will transfer health to the subject. Indeed, it has been shown that viability of probiotics throughout the storage period in addition to the recovery levels in the gastrointestinal tract are important factors.

Angelina Jonas
Journal of Probiotics and Health
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