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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 960826, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/960826
Review Article

Bifidobacteria-Host Interactions—An Update on Colonisation Factors

Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Ulm, 89068 Ulm, Germany

Received 7 July 2014; Revised 20 August 2014; Accepted 20 August 2014; Published 11 September 2014

Academic Editor: Clara G. de los Reyes-Gavilán

Copyright © 2014 Verena Grimm et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Bifidobacteria are one of the predominant bacterial groups of the human intestinal microbiota and have important functional properties making them interesting for the food and dairy industries. Numerous in vitro and preclinical studies have shown beneficial effects of particular bifidobacterial strains or strain combinations on various health parameters of their hosts. This indicates the potential of bifidobacteria in alternative or supplementary therapeutic approaches in a number of diseased states. Based on these observations, bifidobacteria have attracted considerable interest by the food, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries and they are widely used as so-called probiotics. As a consequence of the rapidly increasing number of available bifidobacterial genome sequences and their analysis, there has been substantial progress in the identification of bifidobacterial structures involved in colonisation of and interaction with the host. With the present review, we aim to provide an update on the current knowledge on the mechanisms by which bifidobacteria colonise their hosts and exert health promoting effects.