Detection of Bifidobacterium species and Gardnerella vaginalis in the vagina using PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)
International Dairy Journal
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This is a particularly important time in the evolution of probiotic and prebiotic research. There has been strong growth in dairy food products containing probiotics and/or prebiotics, and a number of them are supported by clinical studies showing health benefits. By uncovering how probiotic and prebiotic interventions function in vivo, it will be possible to further expand dairy applications that improve general health, and in some cases provide adjunctive anti-disease benefits. However, it is important that probiotic products meet appropriate international standards, and contain appropriately speciated and characterized organisms, in shelf-stable formulations that have been shown in well-designed clinical studies to confer defined health benefits on the consumer. This review will focus on progress made over the past 3 years in understanding the important role of bacteria in health, beginning at conception through to older age. Studies showing that the body's microbiota can be modulated, to a certain extent, by use of probiotics and prebiotics, has led to the development and testing of products targeting immunity, regularity, allergy, gut and distant site infection, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. In the future, human and microbial genomic and metabolomic studies will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms conveyed by commensal and probiotic organisms in human and animal health. This will challenge the dairy industry and regulatory authorities as to how to communicate food benefits that go beyond general health and wellbeing claims. This will prove particularly challenging for recombinant strains carrying microbicides, immune-modulators and other disease-specific components. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.