Next-Generation Probiotics Their Molecular Taxonomy and Health Benefits

  • Shams Tabrez Khan
  • Abdul Malik


The concept of probiotics although perceived as new is more than a century old. Since the early studies of the Elie Metchnikoff in 1903, a number of commercial products containing probiotics are in the market. The recent success of converting probiotic products into commercial reality was achieved by the scientists like Minoru Shirota and Kellog. Minoru Shirota is a Japanese scientist who successfully demonstrated the health benefits of probiotics and commercialized the globally known probiotic drink Yakult. This renewed interest in probiotics is spurred by the recent advances made in understanding the human microbiome and its role in human health. The link between the gut microbiome and human health is becoming increasingly clear and is well described. Nevertheless, the gut microbiome is continuously influenced by a number of factors like diet, lifestyle and consumption of antibiotics. A healthy gut microbiome can be retained and maintained by using various probiotics. Moreover, the probiotic microorganisms are no more limited to a few conventionally used bacteria and are being currently represented by more phylogenetically diverse microorganisms than previously thought. These probiotic microorganisms include conventionally used Lactic acid bacteria, like Lactobacillus and recently identified probiotic bacteria like Akkermansia muciniphila, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium butyricum, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Streptococcus thermophiles etc. Many of these probiotic strains have a shared mechanism of action, while strain specific, species-specific or genus-specific probiotic effects have also been documented. Probiotics are administered as live cultures or as spores, directly or through fermented dairy products, food, and drinks. Probiotics based therapies like fecal microbiota transplant are also being used successfully for treating medical conditions and diseases like diarrhea, constipation, vaginitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Clostridium difficile infection, and others. Reports showing a clear role of probiotics in immunomodulation, prevention of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer are also emerging. Yet, a number of microorganisms in the gut remain uncultured and many candidate probiotic microorganisms remain poorly identified, requiring correct identification and a rigorous evaluation as probiotics. Probiotics may be a century old but require fresh attention keeping in view the recent advances made in understanding the gut microbiome and the role of these microorganisms in human health.


Probiotics Health benefits Molecular taxonomy Microorganisms 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shams Tabrez Khan
    • 1
  • Abdul Malik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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