Apr 9, 2010

Probiotics and Their Benefits to Health

There are thousands of things which are eatable included yogurts, cheese and pickles. If we try to see them in history of mankind then their roots will be very ancient indicating that man is biotechnologist from very beginning of civilization. So, today Stonyfield Farm is famous for yogurt, Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc is largest company making pickles and McCadam Cheese Company Inc is one of the oldest companies in new York in the field of cheese industry.

Probiotics are simply defined as "microorganisms in food which provide benefit beyond nutritional value." In this they are not acting as food but helping the digestive tract to digest the food. Lactobacillus is most common probiotic present in yogurt and Saccharomyces cerevisiae is present in bakery products.

Only that organism will be considered as potential probiotic which has following features:

  1. The organism which can sustain its viability in the desired food product.
  2. Organism titer in food should be high
  3. It can resist environmental conditions inside digestive tract. (Gastric juices etc)
  4. It must be competent to stick with the walls of digestive system.
  5. It must have ability to change the environmental conditions.
  6. And last but not least important, it must not be pathogenic.

In Food industry, mostly it is being used for following purposes:

  1. To preserve food (e.g. cheese)
  2. To give flavor to some product (Acetaldehyde)

Its benefits in food are more evident than expected. They are providing benefits related to immunity, gastrointestinal tract, cancer and HIV. We will discuss them in detail in later post.


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