During the past two decades probiotic (health promoting) micro-organisms have been increasingly included in various types of food products, especially in fermented milks. Several aspects, including safety, functional and technological characteristics, have to be taken into consideration in the selection process of probiotic micro-organisms. Safety aspects include specifications such as origin (healthy human GI-tract), non-pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance characteristics. Functional aspects include viability and persistence in the GI-tract, immunomodulation, antagonistic and antimutagenic properties. Before probiotic strains, chosen on the basis of their good safety and functional characteristics, can benefit the consumer, they must first be able to be manufactured under industrial conditions. Furthermore, they have to survive and retain their functionality during storage, and also in the foods into which they are incorporated without producing off-flavours. Factors related to the technological and sensory aspects of probiotic food production are of utmost importance since only by satisfying the demands of the consumer can the food industry succeed in promoting the consumption of functional probiotic products in the future.
- Probiotic bacteria