Fourth Annual Probiotics Grant Continues to Fuel Growth In Research

By Danone Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd., PRNE
Sunday, December 19, 2010

Young Investigators invited to apply -

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, December 20, 2010 - 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

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 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(R), in 1935. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult(R)
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,,

Patricia Kearney or Ashley Hart, +1-703-841-1600, gpc at

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