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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2016 Feb;37:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2015.09.001. Epub 2015 Sep 29.

Prebiotics: why definitions matter.

Author information

1
Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919, USA. Electronic address: rhutkins1@unl.edu.
2
Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919, USA; School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919, USA.
3
Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
4
Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, WELBIO (Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology), Av. E. Mounier, 73 B1.73.11, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.
5
Department of Animal Science, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
6
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
7
Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
8
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
9
Department of Food Science & Technology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
10
Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Reading, PO Box 226, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AP, United Kingdom.
11
Sensus BV (Royal Cosun), Borchwerf 3, 4704RG Roosendaal, The Netherlands.
12
Dairy & Food Culture Technologies, Centennial, CO 80122, USA.

Abstract

The prebiotic concept was introduced twenty years ago, and despite several revisions to the original definition, the scientific community has continued to debate what it means to be a prebiotic. How prebiotics are defined is important not only for the scientific community, but also for regulatory agencies, the food industry, consumers and healthcare professionals. Recent developments in community-wide sequencing and glycomics have revealed that more complex interactions occur between putative prebiotic substrates and the gut microbiota than previously considered. A consensus among scientists on the most appropriate definition of a prebiotic is necessary to enable continued use of the term.

PMID:
26431716
PMCID:
PMC4744122
DOI:
10.1016/j.copbio.2015.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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