Several food products, prepared with the help of beneficial microbes, can fit into the current definition of probiotics which have been consumed by mankind since ancient times. Beneficial microbes are the agents that produce many fermented foods and beverages, which are popular in different parts of the world. Indications about the use of products with healthy microbes are given in Vedic literature and are also depicted in ancient Egyptian and European treatises. However, systematic studies on probiotics started after the publication of the book, Prolongation of life, by Eli Metchnikoff in 1907. During the last century, the use of probiotics as food and pharma products gained substantial rise.
This review intends to compile and analyze the literature pertaining to the use of probiotics as food products, especially for nutritional enrichment.
The review will focus on the key issues important to establishing the requirement to re-assure the efficacy and safety after strain development, process standardization, product formulations, bioavailability of the live cells and biomolecules, and the effect of processing, etc. Current literatures addressing the mechanisms of action for probiotic function and the development of novel probiotic foods with health claims and meeting the nutritional requirement through fermentation are necessary to better understand the product and its application.
Keywords: Probiotics, Prebiotics, Nutritional Enrichment, Fermented Foods, Bioavailability, Efficacy, Regulatory, Safety, Synbiotics, Functional Foods