British Journal of Nutrition

Review article

Should yoghurt cultures be considered probiotic?

Francisco Guarnera1 c1, Gabriela Perdigona2, Gérard Corthiera3, Seppo Salminena4, Berthold Koletzkoa5 and Lorenzo Morellia6

a1 Digestive System Research Unit, University Hospital Vall d'hebron, Barcelona, Spain

a2 Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (Cerela), Facultad de Bioquímica, Química y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina

a3 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unite Ecologie Physiologie Systeme Digestif, Jouy-en-Josas, France

a4 Food Development, Health Biosciences Program, Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Finland

a5 University of Munich, Metabolic Diseases and Nutrition, Munich, Germany

a6 Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), Fac Agraria Istituto Microbiologia, Piacenza, Italy


Probiotics are live micro-organisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Consumption of yoghurt has been shown to induce measurable health benefits linked to the presence of live bacteria. A number of human studies have clearly demonstrated that yoghurt containing viable bacteria (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii sp. bulgaricus) improves lactose digestion and eliminates symptoms of lactose intolerance. Thus, these cultures clearly fulfil the current concept of probiotics.

(Received July 08 2004)

(Revised January 17 2005)

(Accepted January 17 2005)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Francisco Guarner, fax +34 93489 4456, email