Probiotic therapy is based on the concept of normal healthy microflora. The development of novel means of characterising the gut microflora, in particular those based on the different levels of conservation in the ribosomal RNA sequences of different genera, have opened up new angles on the role of the gut microflora in health and disease. Components of the human intestinal microflora or organisms entering the intestine may have harmful or beneficial effects on human health. Abundant evidence implies that specific strains selected from the healthy gut microflora exhibit powerful antipathogenic and anti-inflammatory capabilities, and are consequently involved with enhanced colonisation resistance in the intestine. Realisation of this has led to the introduction of novel modes of therapeutic and prophylactic intervention based on the consumption of mono and mixed cultures of beneficial live microorganisms as probiotics.
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