Modulation of the microbial ecology of the human colon by probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics to enhance human health: an overview of enabling science and potential applications

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2005 Apr 1;52(2):145-52. doi: 10.1016/j.femsec.2005.01.003.


The application of probiotics and prebiotics to the manipulation of the microbial ecology of the human colon has recently seen many scientific advances. The sequencing of probiotic genomes is providing a wealth of new information on the biology of these microorganisms. In addition, we are learning more about the interactions of probiotics with human cells and with pathogenic bacteria. An alternative means of modulating the colonic microbial community is by the use of prebiotic oligosaccharides. Increasing knowledge of the metabolism of prebiotics by probiotics is allowing us to consider specifically targeting such dietary intervention tools at specific population groups and specific disease states.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / immunology
  • Colon / microbiology*
  • Developing Countries
  • Drug and Narcotic Control
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / chemistry
  • Probiotics / economics
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use