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Int J Food Microbiol. 1998 May 26;41(2):85-101.

Overview of gut flora and probiotics.

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Institute of Hygiene and Toxicology, Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Karlsruhe, Germany.


Scientific developments in recent years have opened new frontiers and enable a better understanding of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) as a complex and delicately balanced ecosystem. This paper focuses on more recent information related to the microbial population of the GIT and its functional role in human physiology and health. Special attention is also given to modern approaches for improving or stabilising the intestinal system and its functioning by the deliberate application of viable microbial cultures, so-called 'probiotics', selected for special functional properties.

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