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Int J Food Microbiol. 1999 Sep 15;50(1-2):45-57.

Selection and design of probiotics.

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  • 1Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7624, USA.


Over the past 5 years the probiotic field has exploded with a number of new cultures, each purported to elicit a variety of benefits. Lists of functional characteristics and benefits, in vivo, are now commonplace to any presentation on probiotics. Scientifically established health claims remain among the highest priorities to companies who seek to establish solid health benefits that will promote their particular probiotic. The scientific community faces a greater challenge and must objectively seek cause and effect relationships for many potential and currently investigated probiotic species and strain combinations. Rational selection and design of probiotics remains an important challenge and will require a platform of basic information about the physiology and genetics of candidate strains relevant to their intestinal roles, functional activities, and interactions with other resident microflora. In this context, genetic characterization of probiotic cultures is essential to unequivocally define their contributions to the intestinal microbiota and ultimately identify the genotypes that control any unique and beneficial properties. Strain selection and differentiation, based on the genetic complement and programming of a candidate probiotic, then becomes feasible. Looking ahead, it will be vital to the development of this exploding field to correlate important characteristics in probiotics with known genotypes and regulatory controls that are likely to affect functionality and beneficial outcomes, in vivo.

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