Developing functional food ingredients for maintaining digestive health
An increasing trend in developing novel functional food ingredients containing probiotic microorganisms tailored for maintenance of digestive health is witnessed today. In this vein, the use of natural food components, containing prebiotic dietary fibers and associated with health effects, as immobilization supports for selected wild-type probiotic strains isolated by traditional fermented foods and human samples, directing at preparation of readily processable functional food ingredients targeting maintenance of digestive health was of interest. The technology developed is expected to result in successful marketable “ready-to-use” beneficial constitutents previously tested in a series of food applications, achieving enhanced probiotic cell viability during processing and storage, as well as during digestion.
An increased attention in developing novel functional foods containing probiotic microorganisms targeting maintenance of digestive health is witnessed today, as consumers are increasingly interested in their personal health and particularly in products capable of preventing and/or curing illness. According to the latest definition of FAO/WHO, probiotics are viable microorganisms (bacteria or yeasts) which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.
Many studies have clearly documented the beneficial effects of probiotics in metabolism (lactose digestion/intolerance, reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, etc), reducing the risk factors of infection by modulating gut microbial flora (1), allergic diseases (eczema, atopic dermatitis, etc) (1-3), inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc) (1, 4), and reducing cancer risk possibility (5-6).
To induce the health benefits, probiotic products need to contain an adequate amount of live bacteria, able to survive the acidic conditions of the upper GI t ...