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Dig Liver Dis. 2006 Dec;38 Suppl 2:S295-9.

Highlights on new food research.

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Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council, Bari, Italy.


The understanding that probiotic foods can have beneficial effects on health has recently led to an increase in consumer demand for such products, thus enhancing their commercial value. Daily intake of probiotic micro-organisms, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, contributes to maintaining and improving the balance of intestinal microbe populations, and their presence in high numbers largely prevents gastro-intestinal disturbances and improves the well-being of the organism by reinforcing its natural defences. In products destined for human consumption, probiotic bacteria are mainly incorporated in fermented milk products whose consumption may be limited by allergies and intolerances, or by low-cholesterol diets. Research is currently aimed at developing probiotic vegetable products which may ensure a regular assumption of beneficial micro-organisms from foods and beverages which are part of a normal diet, thus overcoming the limitations imposed by the use of milk-based products. This paper provides an overview of probiotic products and recently developed technologies, with some details on vegetable carriers used for delivering probiotic species into the human gastro-intestinal tract.

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