The prebiotic concept was introduced twenty years ago, and despite several revisions to the original definition, the scientific community has continued to debate what it means to be a prebiotic. How prebiotics are defined is important not only for the scientific community, but also for regulatory agencies, the food industry, consumers and healthcare professionals. Recent developments in community-wide sequencing and glycomics have revealed that more complex interactions occur between putative prebiotic substrates and the gut microbiota than previously considered. A consensus among scientists on the most appropriate definition of a prebiotic is necessary to enable continued use of the term.
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