ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb 06, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee established in 2004 by Groupe DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., announced the Young Investigator Grant for probiotics research program (YIGPRO) today. The two annual grants are designed to stimulate innovative research and to support young investigators and attract new researchers in the United States into the field of probiotics and gut microbiota.
"Our two companies have demonstrated their long-standing commitment to advancing research in probiotics. This field continues to be one of the most promising for more discoveries that will benefit human health, which is why Danone and Yakult decided in 2004 to join forces and further encourage more research in a larger number of countries," said Sven Thormahlen, Executive Vice President R&D, Danone Research.
With this new initiative, "we will continue to contribute to bridging gaps in the field of probiotics and the gut" said Gerard Denariaz, Director of Danone's Probiotic Research.
"Emerging science on the regular consumption of probiotic-containing products shows how these products can help to regulate the intestinal ecosystem and benefit health. These grants will enable young investigators who are senior fellows, or junior faculty to further explore the health benefits of probiotics. These grants will also further advance understanding about the relationship between probiotics and the intestinal flora and are anticipated to expand the already stable research platform," says Mr. Ryuji Chino, Senior Managing Director, Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.
The grants will provide opportunity for researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, immunology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, and infectious disease to foster innovative ideas, sustain independence, and advance science.
Each Young Investigator Grant for Probiotic Research will provide $50,000 over one year. Research applications should contribute to knowledge about gut microbiota or the role of intestinal flora in health and disease.
The supporters of the grant, Groupe DANONE and Yakult Honsha, Ltd., are the leading global companies researching probiotics with academic approaches.
Probiotics are live cultures that, when consumed in sufficient quantities, can provide health benefits to an individual. Probiotics can help maintain the digestive system by providing a regular source of "friendly" bacteria to the intestinal tract, helping to improve the functioning of the intestinal microflora.
Application procedures and additional details on the Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research program can be found at www.probioticsresearch.com.
The Global Probiotics Council (GPC) is a committee established in 2004 by Groupe DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. The role of the GPC is to promote and/or advance probiotics in the world, through means such as:
i. Raising public awareness of probiotics and their health benefits
through education and dissemination of information;
ii. Communicating with government bodies, and other relevant interest
iii. Building relationships with leading researchers and research
institutions and supporting collaborative research in the area of
probiotics and intestinal flora.
The US has been the first country where the GPC has created a Scientific Board. The GPC also regularly carries out activities to raise public awareness. For more information, please visit www.probioticsresearch.com.
DANONE is the world's leading producer of yogurt products, sold under the DANNON and DANONE brand names. Since its foundation, DANONE has built its business on product offerings, which combine health benefits and taste. DANONE RESEARCH is the organization responsible for all DANONE R&D activities (900 employees worldwide). Its mission is to formulate DANONE products with health benefits (mainly through probiotics) and the scientific evidence to support the claims for these products. It also studies the effects of food on health and aims to continuously improve the nutritional profile of DANONE products worldwide. Probiotic research is a key expertise of DANONE RESEARCH. Over the past 90 years, DANONE has built the world's most comprehensive collection of lactic bacteria strains sampled directly from bio-diversity. Referred to as the DANONE "culture-collection", it contains approximately 3,000 different lactic bacteria strains. In addition to taste and texture, some of these ferments provide probiotic health properties. Such is the case of the Bifidus DN 173 010 strain, used to produce Activia, and the Lactobacillus casei DN 114 011 strain in DanActive. One hundred of these strains have been thoroughly studied and only 50 are currently being used in DANONE products. Therefore the "culture-collection" holds considerable additional future potential for product innovation. DANONE RESEARCH has made it a key research area, using state-of-the-art technologies such as genomics and robotics to select the probiotic bacteria of the future. For more information, please visit www.danone.com/?lang=en, www.danone.com/en/research-innovations.html, www.dannon.com.
Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the world's pioneer in probiotics by introducing the first single shot probiotics drink, Yakult(R), in 1935. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult(R) contains high amounts of its signature strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Yakult is committed to researching the endless applications for probiotics and the use of intestinal bacteria in human health around the world. The company has established two science institutes to support its efforts; one in Japan (Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research) and one in Europe (Yakult Honsha European Research Center for Microbiology ESV). Since developing its overseas network in 1964, Yakult has expanded its business to 30 countries and territories. In addition to producing the internationally recognized probiotic beverage, Yakult is also accredited in the pharmaceutical field for its development of Campto Injection (Camptosar), the first-line drug for colorectal cancer in the U.S. Yakult U.S.A., the subsidiary of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., is stationed in Torrance, CA. For more information, please visit www.yakult.co.jp/english, www.yakult.co.jp/institute, www.yakultusa.com.