Over the last decade, there has been an increasing scientific and public interest in bacteria that may positively contribute to human gut health and well-being. This interest is reflected by the ever-increasing number of developed functional food products containing health-promoting bacteria and reaching the market place as well as by the growing revenue and profits of notably bacterial supplements worldwide. Traditionally, the origin of probiotic-marketed bacteria was limited to a rather small number of bacterial species that mostly belong to lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. Intensifying research efforts on the human gut microbiome offered novel insights into the role of human gut microbiota in health and disease, while also providing a deep and increasingly comprehensive understanding of the bacterial communities present in this complex ecosystem and their interactions with the gut-liver-brain axis. This resulted in rational and systematic approaches to select novel health-promoting bacteria or to engineer existing bacteria with enhanced probiotic properties. In parallel, the field of gut microbiomics developed into a fertile framework for the identification, isolation and characterization of a phylogenetically diverse array of health-promoting bacterial species, also called next-generation therapeutic bacteria. The present review will address these developments with specific attention for the selection and improvement of a selected number of health-promoting bacterial species and strains that are extensively studied or hold promise for future food or pharma product development.
- Applied genomics
- Gut microbiota
- Next-generation therapeutic bacteria