Food Science and Technology Department


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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2016 February ; 37: 1–7. doi:10.1016/j.copbio.2015.09.001.


HHS Public Access.


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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