The use of probiotics in the food industry

Ana Maria Gomes*, José Carlos Andrade, Ana Cristina Freitas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing awareness of the link between diet and health by the scientific community and by the population, in general, over the last years, has led to an important development of foods containing specific components with potential beneficial physiological activities that go beyond basic nutrition, generally designed as functional foods. Within these components are probiotics defined as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Over the past two decades research has generated a valuable source of data on capacity of different probiotic strains to modify host biologic functions originating a growing importance of the use of probiotics in food applications. Recent developments in the knowledge and understanding on the role of the gut microbiota on human health has renewed interest in harnessing the benefits of probiotics within food matrices. In view of this continuously growing trend intense research efforts are under way to develop an increasing variety of food products into which probiotic organisms such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species are incorporated. However, industry faces important challenges in this dominion. Strain selection, biomass yield, product design, process and storage optimization need to simultaneously account for both strain viability and stable functionality throughout shelflife as well as guarantee effective delivery at host target site. To meet this challenge several strategies, technologies and biological markers are available or under development. This chapter provides an overview on the technological, functional and safety selection criteria for development of probiotic foods including the current regulatory requirements and challenges, describe the main commercial strains, their presentation forms and cultivation procedures for high biomass yield and provide an objective overview of the main probiotic/symbiotic foods and applications on the market. Future trends and perspectives will also be covered at the end of the chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategies for obtaining healthier foods
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages54
ISBN (Electronic)9781536121858
ISBN (Print)9781536121599
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Bifidobacteria
  • Functional and safety criteria
  • Lactobacilli
  • Probiotic/symbiotic foods
  • Probiotics
  • Technological features


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