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Applications of Probiotics

Applications of Probiotics

Probiotics: A Biotherapeutics Application of Potentially Beneficial Microorganisms

  • Vandana Bharti*, Archana Mehta, Siddharts Singh and Neha Jain, Shuchi Mehta



The term “Probiotics” comes from the Greek word “pro bios” meaning “for life”. Use of Probiotics are not a new invention but it has formed a vital part of diets for thousands of years, in the form of fermented milk and vegetable products ,yogurt and pickles .Now, research is fascinated with this traditional wisdom in the form of accelerated scientific investigations into the broad spectrum health benefits ofprobiotics. This new science, uses probiotic organisms as natural pharmaceutical agents in the treatment and prevention of disease along with promoting longevity known aspharmabiotics. It provides an almost limitless source of biologically active materials which can influence human health .Therefore, the introduction of beneficial bacterial species to GI tract may be a very attractive option to re-establish the microbial equilibrium and prevent diseases. Probiotics has been studied as an alternative to antibiotic therapy. Probiotics work in human body through various modes of action, namely, production of inhibitory substances (Bacterioicin), activation of immune cells, killing of pathogenic bacteria, blocking of adhesion sites and competition for nutrients. The various criteria employed to select strains for Probiotics are bile-acid stability, adhesion stability, antimicrobial activity, viability and stability during processing and storage. Researchers have proved the biotherapeutic effects of probiotics in many diseases (anticancer, urinary tract infection, lactose intolerance and cholesterol reduction, diarrhea, and peptic ulcers).They also play a role in xenobiotic metabolism. Probiotic supplements and products may offer a new direction in the search for future treatment and prevention strategies as well as nutrition for patients with intestinal barrier dysfunctions, based on immuno-mechanisms, such as food allergy and inflammatory bowel diseases. For bacterial identification at the species level many modern identification methods Such As MALDI-TOF MS, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and 16S rRNA are used. Probiotics have been shown to be effective in varied clinical conditions ranging from infantile diarrhoea, necrotizing enterocolitis, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease to cancer, female uro-genital infection and other clinical diseases.

Key words: lactic acid bacteria, Probiotics, Biotherapeutics Applications

*Address for correspondence: Vandana Bharti, Department of Botany, Dr. Harisingh Gour University (Central University), Sagar, 470003, MP, India. E-mail:


Human body is a good ecological niche for different types of microbes, many of which are either beneficial to the host or commensal taking the body system as shelter for survival. The interaction between these two diverse living organisms is a great ecological scenario. Diverse group of bacteria are the part of this ecological system, each group of microbe has a specific role and site of colonization building a faithful chemistry in-between the microbes and the harboring body systems. Lactic acid bacterium (LAB) is a well-known colonizer in different parts of our body system such as mouth cavity, intestine, secretory organs like breast, urogenital tracts, etc. The coexistence of microbes within the body is essential as they play a crucial role in the anatomical, physiological, and immunological development of the host. Therefore, a selection between beneficial and harmful microbes is needed and this vital role is solely controlled by the well-organized immune system of the host.

To maintain and improve the balance between beneficial and harmful microbes in our body system, a new idea in microbial application has developed in the last few years that is the probiotic therapy, i.e., therapeutic application of potentially beneficial microorganisms. A probiotic has been defined as a live microbial feed supplement that beneficially affects the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance (Fuller, 1991). Among the several parameters for probiotic selection, the adherence of probiotic microbes to host epithelial tissue, at least transiently, is one of the prime parameter in selection of probiotic microorganisms because until and unless they survive and adhere to the colonization site it is impossible to reflect the host beneficial effects for long-time basis. Among the probiotic microbes reported to have health beneficial effect, LAB constitute a major fraction though non lactic bacteria such as the species of Bacillus (Bacillus cereus, B. clausii, B. pumilus, and B. subtilis) and also yeasts like Saccharomyces boulardii and S. cerevisiae have also been proved to have probiotic effects on the host. The great advantage of LAB as probiotic organism is the “GRAS status” (Generally regarded as safe) attached with this group of bacteria.

What Are Probiotics?

  1. The word “probiotic have been defined in several ways by different scientists, depending on our understanding of the mechanisms of action of their effects on health and well-being of humans. But 100 years ago interest in this area was initiated by Metschnikov (Metschnikoff, 1907). The first time Probiotic word was coined by Lily and Stillwell in 1965 to describe growth-promoting factors produced by microorganisms.
  2. Parker (1974) consequently defined it as organisms and substances, which contribute to intestinal microbial balance.
  3. Fuller (1898) pointed out probiotic as a live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the health of the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial Hypocholesterolaemic Effects.
  4. Havenaar et al., (1992) described probiotics as mono or mixed cultures of live microorganisms which, when applied to animal or human, beneficially affected the host by improving the properties of the indigenous microflora. This definition does not restrict probiotic activities to intestinal microflora only, but also includes microbial communities at other sites of the body; the probiotic may consist of more than one bacterial species and that it can be applied to both human and animal.
  5. Salminen et al., (1999) defined probiotics as microbial cell preparations or components of microbial cells that have a beneficial effect on the health and well-being of the host. This implies that probiotics do not necessarily need to be viable, and are limited to human only.
  6. FAO/WHO (2002) described probiotics as live microorganisms when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit on the host.
  7. Wadher et al.,(2010) defined, Probiotics as live microbial food ingredients that have a beneficially affect on human health.
  8. Lye et al.,( 2009) defined that “live microorganisms exert beneficially affect to the host once consumed in adequate amounts are Probiotics”
  9. According to Mishra et al., (2012), Probiotics are “live microbial food supplements which beneficially affect the host by improving the intestinal microflora balance”.

Most probiotic microorganisms belong to Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), such as Lactobacillus sp, Bifidobacterium sp and Enterococcus sp .The yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has been studied extensively and also other bacterial species, like Bacillus sp and Clostridium butyricum. In some countries the use of Enterococcus sp as a probiotic has been questioned because of safety aspects with regard to transfer of genes conferring antibiotic resistance. Most scientists agree that probiotic strains shall be able to survive transit through the gastric acid environment as well as exposure to bile and pancreatic juice in the upper small intestine to be able to exert beneficial effects in the lower small intestine and the colon, although there are convincing data on beneficial immunological effects also from dead cells. Probiotics concept was introduced in clinical nutrition in 1980’s. This emphasized the positive physiological role of certain Lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacteria. Probiotic lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacteria are capable of passing through upper gastrointestinal tract and colonizing in the large intestine. The most widely researched and used species belong to Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria (Saxelin et al, 2003; Zoetendal et al., 2001). Pediococcus acidilactici has a wide range of potential benefits of probiotic properties which are still being studied. For decades Probiotics have been used in fermented dairy products such as yogurts and fermented milks and the technologies to incorporate these organisms into fresh, refrigerated dairy products is now a mature science. The continuing emergence of clinical evidence for benefits to consumers and the subsequent marketing power of these ingredients have now seen probiotics become the fastest growing category of functional food (FF) ingredients. Presently, probiotics play a vital role in promoting health for humans and are also used as therapeutic, prophylactic and growth supplements in animal production. If the studies are carried out systematically, they will prove useful in the treatment of various clinical disorders such as different types of diarrhea, gastrointestinal disorders and cholesterol levels in the blood, immunological and anti-microbial properties. This aspect is different from the one where probiotics are used for the well being; the latter does not require a medical prescription. Many reviewers are reported in the literature regarding clinical trials of Probiotics and therir impact on human health and disease (Chiu et al., 2014; Sharma and Devi, 2014 ; Adama et al., 2012; Maity and Misra, 2009; Goldin and Gorbach, 2008; Suvarna and Boby, 2005; Novik et al.,2014). Selection criteria of bacteria for Probiotics are important to improve human health and GIT Flora (Harmsen et al.,2000 ; Gronlund et al.,1999 ; Vimala and Dileep 2006; Souza et al.,2002).

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