1

prebiotic

adjective pre·bi·ot·ic \ ˌprē-bī-ˈä-tik \
Updated on: 13 May 2018

Definition of prebiotic

1 : of, relating to, or being chemical or environmental precursors of the origin of life
  • … it is possible that either the prebiotic molecules necessary for the evolution of life or the raw materials from which these molecules formed were brought to Earth by comet-like objects.
  • —Marcia Neugebauer
also : existing or occurring before the origin of life
  • … RNA is a chemically fragile molecule, unlikely to survive the harsh prebiotic conditions.
  • —Michael Egholm et al.
2 : of, relating to, or being a prebiotic
  • … next-generation probiotic microbes administered along with the appropriate prebiotic nutrients to nourish them.
  • —Michael Pollan

Recent Examples of prebiotic from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prebiotic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of prebiotic

pre- + biotic


2

prebiotic

noun

Definition of prebiotic

: a substance and especially a carbohydrate (such as inulin) that is nearly or wholly indigestible and that when consumed (as in food) promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract
  • Prebiotics are naturally found in certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including artichoke, asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, and onions.
  • —Andrew Weil
— compare probiotic

Recent Examples of prebiotic from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prebiotic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of prebiotic

1995

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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Medical Dictionary

1

prebiotic

adjective pre·bi·ot·ic \ -bī-ˈät-ik \

medical Definition of prebiotic

1 : of, relating to, or being chemical or environmental precursors of the origin of life
  • prebiotic molecules
; also : existing or occurring before the origin of life
  • prebiotic conditions
2 : of, relating to, or being a prebiotic
  • Prebiotic agents included the oligosaccharides inulin, galactose, fructose, lactulose, and combinations of these nutrients.
  • —Josef Neu et al.The New England Journal of Medicine20 Jan. 2011

prebiotically

\-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

2

prebiotic

noun

medical Definition of prebiotic

: a substance and especially a carbohydrate (such as inulin) that is nearly or wholly indigestible and that when consumed (as in food) promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract — compare probiotic

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