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Science Innovation

Impact of probiotic fermentation of food on their prebiotic activity and digestibility


Prof. L. Morelli

Director, DiSTAS – Department for Sustainable Food Process

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza – Cremona, Italy

Fermented foods are traditionally used for human nutrition from centuries, all over the world.

Different types of raw materials are used as substrate for food fermentation processes.

Fermentation is known to improve the nutritional value of the original substrate as well as to extend the so-called shelf-life.

In addition to the effects of food, beneficial health effects are also traditionally attributed to fermented foods through the interaction of food with human gut microbiota and the positive impact that the improvement of the intestinal functions can have on the wellbeing of consumers.

However, the mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects have not been clarified yet.

What is clear is that bacteria used for fermenting foods are not per se beneficial to consumers, i.e. they are NOT a priori probiotics.

Carefully selected probiotics can be associated to different food substrates to maximize the properties of the substrate in terms of beneficial effect for special categories of population.

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