Monday 26 July 2021

What are postbiotics?

Image: (c) Tim Sandle
The idea of deriving health benefits from live microorganisms is well known, but some non-living microorganisms, too, can have beneficial health effects. Yet even with an increasing number of scientific papers published on non-viable microbes for health, the category is not well defined and different terms are used in different contexts.

Now, a group of international experts has clarified this concept in a recently published scientific consensus definition in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. The authors use an established term –postbiotics– and precisely define it as “a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host“.

According to the definition, postbiotics may include either whole microbial cells or components of the cells, as long as they have somehow been deliberately inactivated.

Professor Seppo Salminen, lead author on the publication, says the group of experts — from across the disciplines of probiotics and postbiotics, adult and pediatric gastroenterology, pediatrics, metabolomics, regulatory affairs, microbiology, functional genomics, cellular physiology and immunology — wanted to clarify that postbiotics are more complex than the common idea of ‘heat-killed probiotics’.

Read more about this at Microbiome Times: International group of experts publish consensus definition of 'postbiotics' - Microbiome Times MagazinePosted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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