Novel Applications for Beneficial Microbes

Posted 10 March, 2016

The latest achievements, new developments and innovative ideas for the use of beneficial microbes were discussed at the 4th “Beneficial Microbes” symposium in Berlin this January, held by one of Pen & Tec’s clients: Organobalance. This year’s event reviewed novel uses in health, chemistry, cosmetics environmental and energy applications.

Microorganisms: problem or solution?

Microorganisms are all around us and often viewed as a negative influence. But recent research has identified that some problems such as skin rash or dermatitis are associated with imbalances in the skin microbiota. Traditional solutions are often unreliable but probiotics have been seen to address an imbalance resulting in a faster and more definitive solution.

Conventional treatment with antibiotics can perturb patient’s microbiota unfavourably. Another revolutionary idea proposes a faecal transplantation that introduces healthy microbiota to protect the host against gastrointestinal diseases such as Clostridium difficile infection. Other possible applications include the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s decease.

Exploiting the opportunity

The symposium reached three broad conclusions:

  • We need to change our perception of bacteria, to better understand their role and avoid viewing them as ‘an indistinguishable mix of harmful bugs’.
  • On the contrary, we should increase our use of bacteria to improve our quality of life through understanding and encouraging a beneficial balance of microflora in the population.
  • We should encourage using bacteria to treat or prevent some diseases rather than ‘carpet bombing’ patients with antibiotics. Indeed used intelligently this will help reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Thus in the future people may think of probiotics not just in the context of yogurt but as a treatment, perhaps even as cosmetics which have a genuine and proven beneficial effect. This trend may also be impacted by the current move by the EC to revise the regulation of beneficial ‘foods for special medical purposes’. In any case, sound scientific evidence is a prerequisite for the EC authorization procedures.

Probiotics are one of Pen & Tec’s core competencies. With over 30 years’ experience and a thorough knowledge of current legislation and regulation we are able to guide applications for the novel use of probiotics through EU regulatory processes to gain approval.

Organobalance develop new products in the food, feed, personal care, agriculture and pharma sectors.  They also devise and construct yeast production strains for Industrial Biotechnology. See

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