Microbiology & Immunology Publications


Unraveling how probiotic yogurt works

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Canadian Journal of Microbiology





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Previous investigations have shown that certain strains of lactobacilli can competitively exclude uropathogens from attaching to uroepithelial cells and from causing urinary tract infection in animials. The finding of an inhibitory effect produced by Lactobacillus casei ssp. rhamnosus GR-1 against the growth of uropathogens was investigated further using two Escherichia coli indicator strains Hu 734 and ATCC 25922. There were two phases to the inhibitor studies. The first one using an agar sandwich technique showed that an inhibitor activity was heat stable and inhibitory to the E. coli. The second phase showed that MRS broth provided optimum lactobacilli growth and inhibitor production. In addition, the inhibition was present under conditions buffering for acid and pH. The data indicated that the inhibitory effect was not due to bacteriophages or hydrogen peroxide. Strain GR-1 was found to coaggregate with E. coli ATCC 25922 in urine, a phenomenon that has not previously been reported for urogenital bacteria. An in vitro assay system was developed to study the coaggregation of various lactobacilli and uropathogens. The results demonstrated that highest coaggregation scores occurred after 4 h incubation at 37°C with lactobacilli and two type-1 fimbriated E. coli strains. Of the nine lactobacilli strains tested, each was found to coaggregate with 2 or more of the 13 uropathogens. The dominance of inhibitor-producing lactobacilli on the urogenital epithelium and the ability of these organisms to interact closely with uropathogens would constitute an important host defense mechanism against infection.

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