LGG (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG) has been extensively researched for its health benefits; some recent studies have indicated that it could prove beneficial in combating eczema in children that suffer from allergies. Chr Hansen has, in fact, been manufacturing LGG for Valio for a number of years, but under the new arrangement it will directly handle processes related to its manufacture and sale for food supplements. A spokesperson for Chr Hansen told NutraIngredients.com that LGG is already used in some supplements products, but this category holds significant opportunities as interest in probiotics continues to grow. The global retail market for probiotic dietary supplements was valued by Euromonitor International at just over US$1bn in 2005, and was seen to have experienced 46.9 per cent growth between 2002 and 2005. Growth of 32.6 per cent is predicted through 2010. "This new agreement between Valio and Chr Hansen is a very important step for both companies to ensure that the market gets new and exciting products with some of the best documented probiotic strains on the market," said Mr Esa Laurinsilta, VP international cooperation and technology cooperation at Valio. LGG is suitable for use in various forms of supplements including tablet and powders, depending on the customer's wishes and needs. The agreement also opens the way for Chr Hansen to develop and sell supplements that combine LGG with BB-12 (bifidobacterium lactis) or other of its own strains. While it is expected that use of LGG is supplements will grow as a result of the agreement, no indication has been given of the scale by which manufacture of the bacteria will increase. Valio has said that the new agreement with Chr Hansen does not impact its supply of LGG to its other partners in the dairy industry.