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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Aug;57(8):1479-504. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300065. Epub 2013 Jun 25.

Microbial characterization of probiotics--advisory report of the Working Group "8651 Probiotics" of the Belgian Superior Health Council (SHC).

Author information

1
Laboratory for Microbiology & BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. geert.huys@ugent.be

Abstract

When ingested in sufficient numbers, probiotics are expected to confer one or more proven health benefits on the consumer. Theoretically, the effectiveness of a probiotic food product is the sum of its microbial quality and its functional potential. Whereas the latter may vary much with the body (target) site, delivery mode, human target population, and health benefit envisaged microbial assessment of the probiotic product quality is more straightforward. The range of stakeholders that need to be informed on probiotic quality assessments is extremely broad, including academics, food and biotherapeutic industries, healthcare professionals, competent authorities, consumers, and professional press. In view of the rapidly expanding knowledge on this subject, the Belgian Superior Health Council installed Working Group "8651 Probiotics" to review the state of knowledge regarding the methodologies that make it possible to characterize strains and products with purported probiotic activity. This advisory report covers three main steps in the microbial quality assessment process, i.e. (i) correct species identification and strain-specific typing of bacterial and yeast strains used in probiotic applications, (ii) safety assessment of probiotic strains used for human consumption, and (iii) quality of the final probiotic product in terms of its microbial composition, concentration, stability, authenticity, and labeling.

KEYWORDS:

Identification; Lactic acid bacteria; Probiotics; Product quality control; Safety

PMID:
23801655
PMCID:
PMC3910143
DOI:
10.1002/mnfr.201300065
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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