The International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) has released a consensus statement on the definition and scope of postbiotics.
The International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) has released a consensus statement1 on the definition and scope of postbiotics. In 2019, the ISAPP convened a panel of experts specializing in nutrition, microbial physiology, gastroenterology, pediatrics, food science and microbiology to consider the scientific, commercial, and regulatory parameters that encompass the term “postbiotic”, propose a useful definition, and in doing so, establish a foundation for future developments.
The panel defines postbiotics as a “preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host.” The panel also concluded that postbiotics are deliberately inactivated microbial cells with or without metabolites or cell components that contribute to health benefits that do not have to be derived from probiotics to be accepted as postbiotics. In addition, the panel stated that postbiotics are not purified microbial metabolites and vaccines.
In terms of health benefits, there is limited, but promising scientific literature. For example, animal studies have demonstrated the ability of postbiotics to positively influence behavior mice, making them more sociable and reducing stress hormones, while also positively influencing the gut microbiome of test subjects. Data in human adults shows that postbiotics may reduce Helicobacter pylori infection, reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and mitigate the negative effects of stress.
This is welcome news to the industry, benefiting existing postbiotic ingredients with a standardized definition, and giving manufacturers a framework by which to develop and study future ingredients. “We believe postbiotic ingredients hold great potential and can bring health-supportive benefits to a wide range of foods, beverages and supplements. Having an internationally recognized definition is an important step, especially as this emerging class of ingredients gain mainstream recognition,” said Justin Green PhD, director of scientific affairs, Cargill Health Technologies (Ankeny, IA). “Our hope is this common vocabulary and scientific framework sets the stage for greater research and product innovation into the postbiotic space, and we look forward to partnering with our customers and the industry at large on this journey.”
Among the benefits of postbiotics for formulators are their inherent stability during industrial processing and storage. “Postbiotics might also be more suited than probiotics to geographical regions that do not have reliable cold chains or whose ambient temperature causes problems for storage of live microorganisms,” states ISAPP, in its consensus statement.
For example, Stratum Nutrition’s (Carthage, MO) ingredient LBiome, which meets ISAPP’s definition of postbiotic, boasts a two-year shelf life when stored at room temperative, and has the versatility to be used in capsules, emulsion, liquids, chews, and dissolvable powders.