control). The children were administered 5 × 109 colony-forming units (CFUs) twice a day. The study was conducted during the cold and flu season (i.e., from November to May). Researchers observed a significant reduction in respiratory tract infections in both treatment groups. Also, children who received the blended probiotic demonstrated an 82 percent reduction in antibiotic use and a 46 percent reduction in number of sick days. The findings were corroborated by a more recent (manuscripts in preparation) efficacy study of 474 adult athletes showing that the same blended probiotic led to a 33 percent reduction in respiratory infections and a 35 percent reduction in medication use over a 150-day period during the cold and flu season.

As an example of how DuPont5 has contributed to education, Steele noted the national media coverage of the company’s HOWARU product launch. She also commented on Danone’s pioneering work in educating consumers about probiotic yogurt and the company’s role in promoting digestive health, including its use of a celebrity (Jamie Lee Curtis) to promote the digestive benefits of probiotic yogurt.

With respect to exploring new end points, Steele identified the need to address different age groups and adapt probiotic formulations accordingly. For example, older adults might require different probiotic blends than younger adults or infants and children. Reiterating some of what Julian McClements covered during his presentation, Steele explained that a probiotic must remain viable and in sufficient quantity until it actually delivers its benefit. A whole host of food factors could impact viability, including formulation, processing, storage or distribution, and shelf life. As just one example, she referred to data on the survival of an L. casei strain in orange juice. Over the course of its 60-day shelf life, the probiotic population decreased in size about 10-fold. DuPont scientists are also testing different food matrices both in simulated GI tract conditions and in the clinic to see which matrices are most protective of a probiotic as food is digested (Ibrahim et al., 2010; Makelainen et al., 2009).

Finally, DuPont scientists are investigating new health end points. For example, Amar and colleagues (2011) reported that B. lactis 420 can reverse high-fat diet-induced diabetes in mice. In addition to impacting blood glucose, insulin secretion, and insulin sensitivity, the probiotic also reduced fat mass. The researchers linked the effects to reduced plasma lipopolysac-charide (LPS) levels and reduced tissue inflammation. As another example, Shu et al. (2000) reported significantly improved survival rates among mice that were administered Danisco’s HOWARU Bifido (B. lactis HN019) and then challenged with a single dose of Salmonella typhimurium. The results have implications for pathogen-induced diarrheal disease in humans.


5 The HOWARU product line was launched by Danisco.

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