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Research shows potential prebiotic qualities of enzyme-converted durum wheat

BY Jenna Duncan

NAPLES, READING, England, and BARCELONA Several new studies at universities in Europe have examined the possibility that enzyme-treated insoluble durum wheat could possibly be infused with prebiotic qualities, reports said.

Studies conducted by universities in Barcelona, Naples and Reading have examined adding Trichoderma enzymes to insoluble cereal fiber. Some results have appeared in a report published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Reports stated that the addition of the enzyme produced soluble feruloyl oligosaccharides, also containing bifidobacteria and lactobacilli-boosting properties in a “model gut system”—bacteria known to aid in digestion.

Researchers have stated that if the studies can confirm the prebiotic potential of durum wheat plus enzymes, this fiber could join the growing line-up of commerical prebiotic/probiotic health supplements.

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Yakult touts benefits of probiotics with educational broadcast

BY Michael Johnsen

TORRANCE, Calif. Yakult USA on Thursday announced that it will broadcast an educational segment entitled “Friendly bacteria improve health,” via the National Medical Report on U.S. public television. Hosted by television journalist Hugh Downs, the 4-minute interstitial program explains to viewers that bacteria, which are traditionally thought to be bad, are able to be beneficial to human health.

“It has been demonstrated that Yakult’s exclusive probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, can survive the passage through the gastrointestinal tract and keep a healthy balance of gut microbiota,” said Tomoyuki Sako, senior research scientist at the Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research. “This is believed to be the reason why L. casei Shirota may help regulate the digestive tract and modulate the immune system.”

Last year, the company did a major launch in the United States of its consumer product beverage Yakult, which contains around 8 billion probiotics. This public television broadcast is intended to reach 40 million households and help educate Americans who may not know about the health benefits of probiotics.

The National Medical Report segment will air for the duration of next year on more than 150 public television stations in 200 regions across the United States. A shorter version without Downs aired November 12 on Discovery Health.

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Tesco reports third quarter results; CEO says Fresh & Easy stores add to growth

BY Jenna Duncan

CHESHUNT, England Tesco chief executive officer Terry Leahy told the media that the launch of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores in the United States has been successful this year and that operations have moved into the growth arena.

Tesco announced this week that for the 13 weeks ended Nov. 22 corporate sales rose 11.7 percent, which included an almost 6 percent rate of growth in the United Kingdom and 28.1 percent growth in Tesco’s international division.

Though the new Fresh & Easy stores seem to be flourishing along the West Coast and Midwestern United States, Tesco has said that it has lessened Fresh & Easy expansion plans for early 2009 due to the current state of the U.S. economy.

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