Caister Academic Press

Yeasts as Probiotics: Established in Animals, but What About Man?

Gunnard K. Jacobson
from: Probiotics and Prebiotics: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Koen Venema and Ana Paula do Carmo). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2015) Pages: 115-134.


Yeasts are single-celled fungi that have been associated with human activity for thousands of years. Yeast strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae have always been a good, and traditional, source of animal and human nutrition because of their B vitamin content. The use of inactive yeasts, live yeasts, and live yeast products such as "yeast culture" is widespread in animal husbandry. The traditional use of yeast by man has been primarily in food modification (leavening and alcoholic fermentation), but also medicinally, and as a nutritional supplement. Only within the last century have the probiotic properties of some yeast strains been recognized: increased milk yields in dairy cattle and ameliorating diarrheal diseases in man, for example. Some properties may be generic, e.g., oxygen scavenging in the rumen; but other properties are not shared by all strains of Sacch. cerevisiae and the explanations for this fact are under intense scientific scrutiny. The probiotic attributes of the boulardii subgroup of strains within Sacch. cerevisiae have been attributed to effects on enteric pathogens, intestinal barrier function integrity, anti-inflammatory effects, immune stimulation, and trophic effects on the intestinal mucosa. Current research is identifying new yeast probiotics outside of the Sacch. cerevisiae ssp. boulardii cluster read more ...
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