Emerging evidence suggests that the gut microbiota has a critical role in both the maintenance of human health and the pathogenesis of many diseases. Modifying the colonic microbiota using functional foods has attracted significant research effort and product development. The pioneering concept of prebiotics, as introduced by Gibson and Roberfroid in the 1990s, emphasized the importance of diet in the modulation of the gut microbiota and its relationships to human health. Increasing knowledge of the intestinal microbiota now suggests a more comprehensive definition. This paper briefly reviews the basics of the prebiotic concept with a discussion of recent attempts to refine the concept to open the door for novel prebiotic food ingredients, such as polyphenols, minerals and vitamins.
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We thank Mr Kevin Prudence for assistance with editing.
RES and PW are employees of DSM Nutritional Products, Basel, Switzerland. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Steinert, R., Sadaghian Sadabad, M., Harmsen, H. et al. The prebiotic concept and human health: a changing landscape with riboflavin as a novel prebiotic candidate?. Eur J Clin Nutr 70, 1348–1353 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2016.119