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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2011 Apr;22(2):211-9. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.12.004. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Impact of microbial transformation of food on health - from fermented foods to fermentation in the gastro-intestinal tract.

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Danone Research Avenue de la Vauve, 91767 Palaiseau Cedex, France.


Fermentation of food components by microbes occurs both during certain food production processes and in the gastro-intestinal tract. In these processes specific compounds are produced that originate from either biotransformation reactions or biosynthesis, and that can affect the health of the consumer. In this review, we summarize recent advances highlighting the potential to improve the nutritional status of a fermented food by rational choice of food-fermenting microbes. The vast numbers of microbes residing in the human gut, the gut microbiota, also give rise to a broad array of health-active molecules. Diet and functional foods are important modulators of the gut microbiota activity that can be applied to improve host health. A truly multidisciplinary approach is required to increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying health beneficial effects that arise from the interaction of diet, microbes and the human body.

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