The term probiotic, of Greek origin, meaning “for life”, and was first introduced in the literature by Lilley and Stillwell in 1965. For over two decades, probiotics were defined as a food supplement based on live microorganisms that beneficially affect the body by improving the intestinal balance.
In 2002, this concept was reaffirmed at a meeting of experts organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms that promote ingested in sufficient quantities beneficial effects on the host. “
Probiotics and the main benefits for infant nutrition
They are widely used in the preparation of fermented dairy products, in particular yoghurt and milk fermented. However, it can also be found in other products on the market, like desserts made from milk powder, infant formulas that replace breast milk, cream, butter, mayonnaise, various types of cheese, and vegetable foods.
From a historical standpoint, fermented milks have been used by humans for over 10,000 years. This is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. As for its health benefits, it is noteworthy Metchnikoff observations, made in the twentieth century, when relating the consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus and longevity of Bulgarian peasants.
The other, a century later, have been identified and studied, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Saccharomyces bourlardii, Propionibacterium freudenreichii.