Microbiology & Immunology Publications
Probiotic lactobacilli: A potential prophylactic treatment for reducing pesticide absorption in humans and wildlife
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Numerous pesticides are used in agriculture, gardening, and wildlife-control. Despite their intended toxicity to pests, these compounds can also cause harm to wildlife and humans due to their ability to potentially bioaccumulate, leach into soils, and persist in the environment. Humans and animals are commonly exposed to these compounds through agricultural practices and consumption of contaminated foods and water. Pesticides can cause a range of adverse effects in humans ranging from minor irritation, to endocrine or nervous system disruption, cancer, or even death. A convenient and cost-effective method to reduce unavoidable pesticide absorption in humans and wildlife could be the use of probiotic lactobacilli. Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive gut commensal bacteria used in the production of functional foods, such as yoghurt, cheese, sauerkraut and pickles, as well as silage for animal feed. Preliminary in vitro experiments suggested that lactobacilli are able to degrade some pesticides. Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1-supplemented yoghurt reduced the bioaccumulation of mercury and arsenic in pregnant women and children. A similar study is warranted to test if this approach can reduce pesticide absorption in vivo, given that the lactobacilli can also attenuate reactive oxygen production, enhance gastrointestinal barrier function, reduce inflammation, and modulate host xenobiotic metabolism.