Recent developments in prebiotics to selectively impact beneficial microbes and promote intestinal health

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2015 Apr;32:42-46. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Nov 21.


Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that have a specific stimulatory effect upon selected populations of gut bacteria. The usual target microorganisms for prebiotic approaches are bifidobacteria. Numerous human feeding studies have shown the prebiotic influences that galactans and fructans can exert. Other candidate prebiotics are under investigation. The field is now moving towards identifying the health aspect associated with their use. Many avenues of gut related health are being researched, including reduction of diarrhoea, immune stimulation, and improved mineral bioavailability. Most current emphasis appears to be towards various parameters associated with metabolic syndrome. These include markers of insulin resistance, appetite, satiety, blood lipids and inflammatory status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Minerals / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Prebiotics*


  • Minerals
  • Prebiotics