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Fourth Annual Probiotics Grant Continues to Fuel Growth In Research

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee formed by Danone and YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., announced the launch of the fourth annual Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research (YIGPRO). This grant provides two awards, each in the amount of $50,000, to rising young stars. This year's grant focus is on the role of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota in health and wellness. Applications will be accepted until February 15, 2011.

"Our vision for creating the grant program is to foster scientific research in the United States in this emerging field and, in turn, contribute to building a global foundation of science that will lead to new insights on how probiotics benefit human health," said Sven Thormahlen, Executive Vice President R&D, Danone Research.

The grants are designed to advance probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota research in the United States and to attract promising, young researchers into this field of study. 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.

"The success of the grant program over the past three years has confirmed young investigators are interested in the relationship between probiotics, gastrointestinal microbiota, and the body," said Mr. Yoshihiro Kawabata, Senior Managing Director, YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD. "We have been extremely impressed by the quality of applications received during the past three grant cycles, and hope to have similar results this year."

Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that when consumed in adequate quantities provide a benefit to the host. The benefit of a probiotic is strain specific, which means that individual strains must be studied to determine their specific benefits.  Research has shown that certain strains of probiotics can improve digestive health and support immune function. New research is uncovering the potential functions of these microorganisms, extending far beyond what was originally conceptualized. 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.

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:

  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 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 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.

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 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,,  


YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the world's pioneer in probiotics by introducing the first single shot probiotics drink, Yakult®, in 1935. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult® 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,,

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