The term probiotic is derived from Greek, meaning "for life" and originated to describe substances produced by one microorganism which stimulate the growth of others (9). 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 consumption (10). 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 definition will be used in the current chapter instead of the term biotherapeutic agents (11) which is sometimes used as well to indicate probiotics.
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