Sugar fermentation in probiotic bacteria – an in vitro study

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Abstract

Introduction

Food supplemented with probiotic bacteria is a rapidly growing sector of the market. The aim of the present study was to evaluate and compare the acid production of selected probiotic strains available in commercial products.

Methods

Six Lactobacillus strains (Lactobacillus plantarum 299v and 931; Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and LB21; Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei F19, and Lactobacillus reuteri PTA 5289) were cultivated at 37°C in an anaerobic atmosphere on Man, Rogosa, Shape (MRS) agar for 48 h or MRS broth for 16 h. After centrifugation, the cells were washed and resuspended in sterile phosphate-buffered saline and immediately subjected to a fermentation assay with 12 different carbohydrates (nine sugars and three sugar alcohols) in microtiter plates with a pH indicator. The plates were examined for color changes after 24, 48, and 72 h of incubation under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Three scores were used: negative (pH > 6.8); weak (pH 5.2–6.8), and positive (pH < 5.2). The strains were characterized with the API 50 CH system to confirm their identity.

Results

L. plantarum fermented all the sugars except for melibiose, raffinose, and xylitol. Both L. rhamnosus strains were generally less active although L. rhamnosus GG was slightly more active than strain LB21 in the 5% CO2 setting. The latter strain exhibited negative reactions for sucrose, maltose, arabinose, and sorbitol under anaerobic conditions. The assays with L. paracasei and L. reuteri had negative or weak reactions for all tested sugars under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Conclusion

The metabolic capacity to form acid from dietary sugars differed significantly between the various probiotic strains.

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