Elie Metchnikoff was the first scientist to conceptualize the term ‘probiotic’. He was Russian Nobel Prize Winner and known as the FATHER OF MODERN IMMUNOLOGY.

Probiotic term was coined in 1965 by Lily and Stillwell.


Probiotic word comes from Greek word – ‘PRO’ means ‘before,forward’ and ‘BIOS’ means ‘life’. Probiotic means life promoting beneficial bacteria.They are known as Effective Microbiota or Friendly Bacteria’. WHO states that a probiotic is a live microorganism which when administered in adequate amount provides a health benefit to host.These bacteria are normal inhabitants of intestine and are normally found in healthy gut of all humans. Lactic acid bacteria(LAB), Bifidobacterium are most types of microbes used as probiotic,but certain yeast and bacilli may also be used.


LAB, Streptococci and Bifidobacterium constitute the probiotics currently used preparation.They are harmless and important components of Gastrointestinal microflora.

  1. Lactobacilli

Fermented food and dairy products(yogurt) contains LAB. Three species of LAB are known to be used in probiotic preparation i.e. L.plantarum, L.casei and L.sporogenes. They help in digestion of lactose products.

  1. Bifidobacterium

It is common intestinal flora found in infants. Known species are B.longum, B.infantis, B.breve

They are known to protect intestinal lining, produce acid to keep pH in intestine balanced.

  1. Streptococcus thermophilus

They are used as starter culture for dairy foods other than yogurt like mozzarella cheese. It possess anti oxidant properties and protect intestine from mucositis during chemotherapy.

  1. Yeast

Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are involved in production of probiotics.

  1. NON VIABLE PROBIOTICS: These are dead.
  2. FREEZE DRIED PROBIOTICS: These will die rapidly upon leaving refrigeration.
  3. FERMENTATION PROBIOTICS: These are produced through fermentation.
  4. VIABLE PROBIOTICS: These live with guaranteed shelf life and produce many health benefits.
  1. Production of inhibitory compounds( example; Bacitracins and Polymyxins produced by Bacillus species).
  2. Restore balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria.
  3. Produce beta galactosidase to digest lactose.
  4. Decreased production of carcinogenic metabolites.
  5. Competition for adhesion sites and available energy sources.
  6. Suppression of viable counts by production of hydrogen peroxide.
  7. Secrete bactericidal proteins and decrease pH.
  8. Alter host immune response by stimulation of IgA production and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  1. Treat high cholesterol.
  2. Promote production of B group vitamins.
  3. Used for treatment of lactose intolerance and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome(IBS), Hepatitis diseases, antibiotic associated diarrhoea and other digestive upset.
  4. Helps to stimulate peristaltic movement of gut to reduce constipation and greatly improve digestion.
  1. Yogurt
  2. Kefir
  3. Kombucha
  4. Miso(popular Japanese food)