The Canadian company said Protecflor, which uses a combination of yeast and bacteria, had received positive results in an in vivo study. The firm will also be aiming the probiotic formula at traveller's diarrhoea. The announcement shows that innovation in the probiotic market - already worth more than €0.7bn globally - is far from over. Indeed, the probiotic supplement market is currently worth the most in Italy. The Italians' belief in the effectiveness of probiotics at boosting gut health has driven the economy to $310m (€219m) in just five years, according to Euromonitor. The market is heads and shoulders above Europe, with the closest continent contender coming in as Belgium, with $15m (€10.6m) sales last year. By contrast North America recorded $293m (€206m) sales. Institut Rosell-Lallemand officially unveiled the formulation at the International Congress of Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Milan. Traveller's diarrhoea is the principal health disorder plaguing travellers, with an estimated 12 million individuals affected every year, the firm said. An in vivo study in rats with traveller's diarrhoea (an E. coli infection) showed a synergistic effects of the probiotic yeast and bacteria components of Protecflor. Protecflor combines Saccharomyces boulardii probiotic yeast with three specific probiotic bacteria strains: Lactobacillus Rosell-11, Lactobacillus Rosell-52, and Bifidobacterium Rosell-175. Either alone or in combination, these three probiotic bacteria have also been documented for their effectiveness in protecting the gut and restoring a balanced microflora, a spokesperson said. An Institut Rosell-Lallemand spokesperson explained: "S. boulardii passes through the gut and has the ability to bind to E. coli pathogens, forming large agglutinates that are easily eliminated. These micro-sentinels are also able to inhibit certain pathogens and toxins (C. difficile toxins A and B), thus safeguarding the gut lumen. "For their part, Lactobacillus Rosell-11 and Lactobacillus Rosell-52 have been shown to effectively reduce acute diarrhoea duration in children. Contrary to yeast, probiotic bacteria have the ability to adhere to the gut surface. By reinforcing the intestinal barrier, they prevent the adhesion and colonization of the gut by pathogens, thereby constituting an effective second line of defence." After two weeks of probiotic administration, it was shown that Protecflor offers better protection against E. coli infection than the probiotic yeast or bacteria mixture separately, with weight loss due to infection significantly reduced, the firm said. Probiotics are receiving a wealth of scientific backing in the role at cutting diarrhoea incidence. This June a study in the British Medical Journal showed probiotic-containing drinks may help reduce diarrhoea among older people receiving antibiotics. Mary Hickson from Imperial College, London, reported that hospital-bound elderly patients receiving antibiotics experienced 22 per cent less cases of diarrhoea if consuming probiotic drinks. Probiotics effectiveness in this area could offer savings to public health services.