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Benef Microbes. 2018 Sep 18;9(5):707-715. doi: 10.3920/BM2018.0015. Epub 2018 May 25.

Expanding the reach of probiotics through social enterprises.

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1 Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, Microbiology & Immunology, and Surgery, University of Western Ontario, Room F3-106, P.O. Box 5777, STN B, London, N6A 4V2 Ontario, Canada.
2 Yoba for Life foundation, Hunzestraat 133-A, 1079 WB Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
3 TNO Microbiology and Systems Biology, P.O. Box 360, 3700 AJ Zeist, the Netherlands.
4 VU University Amsterdam; Micropia, Natura Artis Magistra, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
5 Reference Centre for Lactobacilli (CERELA-CONICET), Chacabuco 145, Tucuman 4000, Argentina.
6 Danone Access, Africa & India, Danone Nutricia Research, Avenue de la Vauve, 91767 Palaiseau, France.
7 General Mills, Nutrition and Technology Solutions, 9000 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis, MN 55427, USA.
8 Research and Development, Metagenics (Aust) Pty Ltd., P.O. Box 675, Virginia BC, Queensland 4014, Australia.
9 Novozymes A/S, Hillerødgade 42, 2200 Frederiksberg, Denmark.
10 Chr Hansen AS, Bøge Alle 10, 2970 Hoersholm, Denmark.
11 Vulvovaginal Disease Clinic, Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Ghent University Hospital 0P4, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Gent, Belgium.


The rapid rise in microbiome and probiotic science has led to estimates of product creation and sales exceeding $50 billion within five years. However, many people do not have access to affordable products, and regulatory agencies have stifled progress. The objective of a discussion group at the 2017 meeting of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics was to identify mechanisms to confer the benefits of probiotics to a larger portion of the world's population. Three initiatives, built around fermented food, were discussed with different methods of targeting populations that face enormous challenges of malnutrition, infectious disease, poverty and violent conflict. As new candidate probiotic strains emerge, and the market diversifies towards more personalised interventions, manufacturing processes will need to evolve. Information dissemination through scientific channels and social media is projected to provide consumers and healthcare providers with rapid access to clinical results, and to identify the nearest location of sites making new and affordable probiotic food and supplements. This rapid translation of science to individual well-being will not only expand the beneficiaries of probiotics, but also fuel new social enterprises and economic business models.


developing world; fermented food; probiotics; social business

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