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The Advantages of Flow Cytometry for Counting Bacteria in Probiotics

January 08, 2020 / rapidmicrobiology

In 2001, a joint FAO/WHO working group defined probiotics as “live micro-organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”  Each of the key terms, ‘live’, ‘adequate amounts’ and ‘health benefit’ are, in fact, much debated. Although the health effects of probiotics are implicit in the definition, there are no approved health claims in the EU and, as confirmed in 2018 by the Commission for Health and Food Safety , there is no intention to change this stance. The term ‘probiotic’ itself is forbidden on product labels as it is considered a health claim. ‘Live micro-organisms’ is not without problems either. Traditionally, that means cultivable cells whose amount is expressed in CFU. However, for Marco Pane, R&D manager of Probiotical, a manufacturer of probiotics located in the north-west of Italy, things are not so clear-cut: