Impact of Synbiotic Supplements on Gut Microbiome and Overall Health of Penguins

Scientists unveil the benefits of co-administration of prebiotics and paraprobiotics for improving penguin health

Scientists discover that co-administration of prebiotic 1-kestose and a paraprobiotic known as Lactiplantibacillus plantarum FM8 in the feed of Magellanic penguins significantly improved the distribution of beneficial bacteria in their gut, provided protection against harmful Clostridium perfringens, and promoted overall health and well-being.  (Credit: "Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins" by Liam Quinn).

A healthy gut plays an indispensable role in the absorption and metabolism of nutrients, maintaining immune function, and promoting general well-being. The profound impact of a healthy microbiome is not just limited to the gut, but there is mounting evidence that it influences almost every function of the body. Thus, the composition of the gut microbiome becomes an important indicator of health status of the body. “Probiotics” are a type of supplements containing live strains of bacteria that improve and diversify the gut microbiome population. Lactiplantibacillus plantarum, a type of microorganism picked up from pickled vegetables, is known to be the most efficient probiotic and has been associated with varied health benefits. On the other hand, “prebiotics” are non-digestible dietary fibers that act as a source of nourishment for the gut microbiome and prebiotic strains. For instance, 1-kestose, a type of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) containing sucrose and fructose, is one of the most effective prebiotics. Additionally, “paraprobiotics” refers to non-viable or heat-killed microbial cells and are easier to store and manufacture, as compared to probiotics. The combination of probiotics and prebiotics is termed as “synbiotics,” whereas a combination of prebiotics with paraprobiotics is called “parasynbiotics.”

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