– The Antiseptic Vol. 115. No. 8, June 2018
The term probiotic was derived from the Greek, meaning “for life.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have stated that there is adequate scientific evidence to indicate that there is potential for probiotic foods to provide health benefits and that specific strains are safe for human use. An expert panel commissioned by FAO and WHO defined probiotics as “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” This is the definition that should be used, and probiotics should not be referred to as biotherapeutic agents. Probiotics
represents an expanding research area. A Medline search of the term probiotics illustrates the significant
increase in research undertaken in this area during the past 5 years: over 1,000 publications cited, compared to 85 for the previous 25 years. While this demonstrates the potential significance of this emerging field, much still remains to be done to standardize the meaning of the term probiotic and which strains actually fulfill the criteria of true probiotic microorganisms.