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Fifth Cycle of Probiotics & Microbiota Research Grant Announced

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee formed by Danone and YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., announced the launch of the fifth annual Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research (YIGPRO). This grant provides two awards, each in the amount of $50,000, to promising young researchers. This year, the grant will continue to focus on the role of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota in health and wellness. Applications will be accepted until February 15, 2012.

Danone and YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD. are the leading global companies on the forefront of raising awareness about the health benefits of probiotics through science-based education.

"We designed this grant program five years ago to attract young researchers to this field of study, and foster scientific research in the United States," said Mr. Yoshihiro Kawabata, Director Deputy President, YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD. "Based on the results of the past four cycles, we are confident that these grants will lead to scientific advancements that continue to add to the body of literature, and help uncover critical mechanisms by which probiotics promote health."

The cutting-edge field of probiotics and microbiota research is gaining momentum worldwide. The microbes in our bodies outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1, and scientists are continuing to discover how the composition of the microbiota can influence our health in a variety of ways. New research is uncovering the potential functions of probiotic microorganisms, extending far beyond what was originally conceptualized.

"This scientific field has experienced a true revolution in the past few years and we are committed to push it forward," said Jean-Philippe Pare, Executive Vice President Danone R&D.

Application procedures and additional details on the Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research program can be found at

About the Global Probiotics Council:

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:

  i.        Raising awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education and dissemination of information to health care professionals and the public;

 ii.        Communicating with government bodies, and other relevant interest groups; and

iii.        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 research in the United States.

About Danone & Danone Research:

Danone is the world's leading producer of yogurt products. These products are sold under the Dannon and Danone brand names. Since its founding, 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.

Among others, 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 Actimel (known as DanActive in the US and Canada). Because this culture collection holds considerable potential for product innovation, Danone Research is carefully studying it using state-of-the-art technologies to select the probiotic bacteria of the future. For more information, please visit,


From our earliest research on lactobacilli, through the development of our food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical businesses, Yakult has retained its commitment to improving human health. Today our responsibilities extend beyond basic health to embrace global social and environmental challenges.Yakult's Central Institute works to elucidate the relationship between human health and intestinal microbiota, focusing on basic research into the structures and functions of microbiota. 'YIF-SCAN', Yakult's state-of-the-art intestinal flora analysis system, selectively quantifies bacteria based on the unique gene sequences of individual microbiota. Synbiotic treatments (combining probiotics and prebiotics) have already been shown to promote the recovery of immune functions, prevent septic complications, promote absorption and digestion, improve nutritional status, and enhance recuperative powers by improving the balance of the microbiota.Yakult's network extends through Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe and our products are sold through 27 overseas operations and consumed in 32 countries. Daily global consumption of Yakult dairy products numbered 30 million in June 2010. We will continue to strive to deepen our understanding of lactobacilli and support good health for all. Yakult U.S.A. Inc., the subsidiary of YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., is stationed in Torrance, CA. For more information, please visit, and


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