Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. To date, there is an increasing number of commercially available products containing probiotics on the market. Probiotics have been recommended by health care professionals for reasons ranging from their long-term immunomodulatory effects to proven benefits in the management of different health conditions. For probiotic products, there are several important aspects that determine the success rate of the development from bench to market. The aim of this review is to explore how the current knowledge on microbe–microbe and host–microbe interactions can be used to develop high-quality, evidence-based probiotic formulations, specifically probiotic dietary supplements, with a focus on the selection of safe strains with relevant functional properties. In addition, we will highlight aspects of the probiotic manufacturing process that need to be considered during the product development and the subsequent manufacturing process to guarantee consistent efficacy of a probiotic product. For each high-quality probiotic formulation, it is important to screen multiple strains, and select only those strains that show relevant functional properties and that can be considered safe for human consumption. In addition, it is imperative that attention is paid to the product development and manufacturing process, and that safety and quality properties are monitored. Importantly, the beneficial effects of probiotics should be evaluated in product efficacy studies and post-marketing surveys in order to demonstrate their clinical efficacy. All these aspects need to be evaluated and validated during the development of a successful high-quality and ready-to-market probiotic.
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