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Prebiotics is a general term to refer to chemicals that induce the growth or activity of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that contribute to the well-being of their host. The most common example is in the gastrointestinal tract, where prebiotics can alter the composition of organisms in the gut microbiome. Prebiotic foods are like fuel for good bacteria. They have certain fibrous carbohydrates that nourish the good bacteria to help it to grow. This process helps build a healthy microbiome, which is our defense system against toxins we encounter from animal products, the environment, poor quality tap-water, and common yeast and viruses or other types of fungi. The term synbiotic is used when a product contains both probiotics and prebiotics. Because the word alludes to synergism, this term should be reserved for products in which the prebiotic compound selectively favors the probiotic compound. In this strict sense, a product containing oligofructose and probiotic. Designer probiotics are used for prevention of enteric infections. These 'designer probiotics' bind bacterial toxins in the gut lumen with very high avidity, thereby preventing disease. Recombinant probiotics can be successfully tailored as antimicrobials and gene therapy vectors, for delivery of vaccines and other therapeutics. For future progress with genetically modified probiotics, establishing the criteria for assessment of environmental safety and tracing the fate of recombinant DNA in vitro and in vivo are of great importance.
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Scope and Importance:
Prebiotics are substances that can promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms, mainly in the intestinal tract, and will modify the colonic microbiota. The following health benefits are attributed to prebiotics: relief from poor digestion of lactose, increased resistance to bacterial infection, better immune response and possible protection against cancer, reduction of the risk of diseases such as intestinal disease, cardiovascular disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. This article presents a discussion of prebiotics, with descriptions of the concepts and its use in clinical practice, and a review of some recent research showing the benefits that these ingredients provide to human health and providing data on the recommended intakes for consumption.
A dietary prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that results in specific changes, in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microbiota, thus conferring benefit(s) upon host health. Some prebiotics occur naturally in foods such as chicory, cereals, agave and milk. However, most foods contain only trace levels, so the approach of refining the active ingredients from these foods crops or of producing them by synthesis (e.g. enzymatic, chemical or thermal processes) has been undertaken in order to attain levels in foods whereby a prebiotic effect may occur. Many prebiotics and candidate prebiotics today fall into the nutritional and regulatory definition of dietary fibre and are labelled as nutrients of that category. They share with dietary fibre the properties of resistance to digestion and (for some fibres) fermentability, but established prebiotics are distinguished from dietary fibre by the selectivity of their fermentation.
The European and the US market for prebiotics is projected to reach $1.17 billion and $225.31 million respectively by the year 2015. While the European market is driven by the expansion of prebiotic ingredient manufacturers into new application areas such as meat and snack products, the US market is driven by continued demand for Fructans, which is the largest product segment in the US prebiotic market.
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