Surging Interest Drives Third Year Announcement of Probiotic Research Grants

--The Global Probiotics Council Continues Successful Program For Young Investigators

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct 29, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today, the success of the Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research (YIGPRO) program was confirmed with the announcement of two $50,000 grants that are available to rising young investigators in the field of probiotics. 2010 marks the third consecutive year for the grants. The grants were established by The Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee formed by DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., and are designed to contribute to the advancement of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota research in the United States.

The grants are expected to continue to expand knowledge about probiotics that may benefit health and prevent disease and to support young researchers who will continue research focused on the relationship between probiotics, gastrointestinal microbiota, and the body.

"The quality of applicants and the caliber of science that we saw the past two years were exceptional and we expect to see the same this year as the level of interest in probiotics continues to rise with emerging science," said Sven Thormahlen, Executive Vice President R&D, Danone Research.

DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. are the leading global companies involved in research about probiotics and in raising awareness of their health benefits through science-based education.

"We hope this program has a global reach. In Japan, we have a long history of working with probiotics and we are committed to supporting education and raising awareness on their benefits," said Mr. Yoshihiro Kawabata, Senior Managing Director, Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.

Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that can provide health benefits to humans beyond basic nutrition when they are consumed in sufficient quantities. In the United States, probiotics are mainly recognized for improving digestive health and supporting the immune system, but they are also involved in promoting health in many other ways. Research shows that different probiotics (specific strains) are beneficial for a number of different conditions. These grants will help to uncover additional beneficial probiotics and will identify critical mechanisms by which they are promoting health.

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) was established in 2004 through a collaborative agreement between 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:

1. Raising awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through
science-based education and dissemination of information to health care
professionals and the public;
2. Communicating with government bodies, and other relevant interest groups;
and

3. Building relationships with leading researchers and research institutions
and supporting collaboration research in the area of probiotics and
intestinal microbiota.

GPC activities began with the establishment of the Probiotics Scientific Board in the United States. The Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research program was established to meet these goals by contributing to the advancement of probiotics study in the United States.

DANONE is the world's leading producer of yogurt products. These products are 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 (1200 employees worldwide). Its mission is to formulate DANONE products with health benefits based on scientific evidence. 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 amassed a collection of approximately 4,000 lactic bacteria strains or "cultures." In addition to taste and texture, some of these cultures provide probiotic health properties. Such is the case of Bifidobacterium animalis DN 173 010, used to make Activia, and Lactobacillus casei DN 114 001, used to make DanActive. Because this culture collection holds considerable potential for product innovation, DANONE RESEARCH using state-of-the-art technologies to select the probiotic bacteria of the future is carefully studying it. 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 32 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. Inc., the subsidiary of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., is stationed in Torrance, CA. For more information, please visit http://www.yakult.co.jp/english, http://www.yakult.co.jp/institute, http://www.yakultusa.com

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