Prebiotics

Prebiotics has been defined as ''non-digestible food that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon" (17). Prebiotics, such as oligosaccharides, are therefore used to maximize the effectiveness of probiotic microorganisms. Based on their chemical structure, some oligo-saccharides are resistant to digestive enzymes and are bioavailable to Bifidobacterium in the large intestine as a carbon and energy source (18). Research suggests that fructo-oligosac-charides, lactose derivatives, galacto-oligosaccharides, and soybean oligosaccharides have commercial significance as prebiotic ingredients (19). Addition of the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharide or galacto-oligosaccharide in combination with Bifidobacterium in yogurt has been shown to increase the intestinal probiotic level by 2 log cycles. The current trend in yogurts marketed in Australia, Europe, and Japan is for them to contain a prebiotic component (18).

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