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Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jun 15;140(2-3):93-101. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.04.017. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Functional intestinal microbiome, new frontiers in prebiotic design.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Belmeloro 6, 40126 Bologna, Italy.


In this review we focus on the revision of the prebiotic concept in the context of the new metagenomic era. Functional metagenomic data provided by the Human Microbiome Project are revolutionizing the view of the symbiotic relationship between the intestinal microbiota and the human host. A deeper knowledge of the mechanisms that govern the dynamic interplay between diet, intestinal microbiota and host nutrition opens the way to better information on the prebiotic structure-function relationships, tailoring prebiotic formula into specific health attributes. On the other hand, functional genomic studies of the sourdough microbial communities allow to scan the environmental variability to identify novel metabolic traits for the biosynthesis of new potential prebiotic molecules. The integration of the functional analyses provided by the massive sequencing of bacterial genomes and metagenomes will allow the rational production of a desired prebiotic molecule with specific functional properties.

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