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Concept: Lactic acid bacteria


There is a general opinion that penile skin lined neovagina of transsexual women is not able to support the growth of lactobacilli. This study was undertaken to prove if lactobacilli strains could survive in neovagina and to characterise the most dominant Lactobacillus species. Sixty three male-to-female transsexual women without abnormal vaginal discharge, clinical signs of infection were recruited on an ongoing basis from among transsexual outpatients in an academic research institution and tertiary care centre. Neovaginal smears were taken for molecular Lactobacillus spp. profiling by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Lactobacillus species were detected from 47/63 transsexual women (75%). The 279 Lactobacillus signals detected by PCR-DGGE technique belonged to 13 different species. Lactobacilli of the L. delbrueckii group (L. gasseri, L. crispatus, L. johnsonii, L. iners, L. jensenii) were predominant. More than 90% of women harboured a combination of two or more neovaginal Lactobacillus species. In this study we report the frequent occurrence of lactobacilli from neovagina of transsexual women. Both, frequency and composition were similar to the normal lactic acid bacterial microflora in both women of reproductive age and postmenopausal women.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gender, Lactic acid, Woman, Lactobacillus, Transgender, Lactic acid bacteria, Transwoman


This study aimed at assessing the dynamics of lactic acid bacteria and other Firmicutes associated with durum wheat organs and processed products. 16S rRNA gene-based high-throughput sequencing approaches and culture-independent analyses showed that Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus and Lactococcus were the main epiphytic and endophytic genera among lactic acid bacteria. Bacillus, Exiguobacterium, Paenibacillus and Staphylococcus completed the picture of the core genera microbiome. The relative abundance of each lactic acid bacteria genus was affected by cultivars, phenological stages, other Firmicutes genera, environmental temperature and water activity (aw) of plant organs. Lactobacilli, showing the highest sensitivity to aw, markedly decreased during milk development (Odisseo) and physiological maturity (Saragolla). At these stages, Lactobacillus was mainly replaced by Streptococcus, Lactococcus and Enterococcus. However, a key sourdough species such as Lactobacillus plantarum was associated to plant organs during the life cycle of Odisseo and Saragolla wheat. The composition of the sourdough microbiota and the overall quality of leavened baked goods is also determined throughout the phenological stages of wheat cultivation, with variations depending on environmental and agronomic factors. Based on the adaptability of lactic acid bacteria on wheat plant, future research has to assess the potential of these bacteria for biocontrol and plant growth promotion.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Streptococcus, Wheat, Lactobacillus, Firmicutes, Lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillales


Dairy fermentations are among the oldest food processing applications, aimed at preservation and shelf-life extension through the use of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) starter cultures, in particular strains of Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus spp. and Leuconostoc spp. Traditionally this was performed by continuous passaging of undefined cultures from a finished fermentation to initiate the next fermentation. More recently, consumer demands on consistent and desired flavours and textures of dairy products have led to a more defined approach to such processes. Dairy (starter) companies have responded to the need to define the nature and complexity of the starter culture mixes, and dairy fermentations are now frequently based on defined starter cultures of low complexity, where each starter component imparts specific technological properties that are desirable to the product. Both mixed and defined starter culture approaches create the perfect environment for the proliferation of (bacterio)phages capable of infecting these LAB. The repeated use of the same starter cultures in a single plant, coupled to the drive towards higher and consistent production levels, increases the risk and negative impact of phage infection. In this review we will discuss recent advances in tracking the adaptation of phages to the dairy industry, the advances in understanding LAB phage-host interactions, including evolutionary and genomic aspects.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Streptococcus, Milk, Lactic acid, Lactobacillus, Lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillales


Low levels of High Pressure of Homogenization (HPH) can be applied directly to lactic acid bacteria cells in order to enhance some functional properties. In a previous work we observed that a 50 MPa HPH treatment increased Lactobacillus paracasei A13 hydrophobicity and resistance to simulated gastric digestion. The aim of this work was to assess the in vivo effects of HPH treatment applied to probiotic lactobacilli on their interaction capacity with the gut and on their ability to induce IgA cell proliferation in mice intestine. BALB/c mice received FITC-labelled cultures of strains, previously treated or not (control) at 50 MPa. Fluorescently labelled cells were studied in the intestine of animals sacrificed 10 and 30 min after intragastric intubation. HPH-treated and control cultures of each strain were orally administered to mice for 2, 5 or 7 consecutive days. The number of IgA-producing cells in the gut was studied by immunohistochemistry. HPH treated probiotic lactobacilli modified their interaction with the small intestine. HPH-treated cells induced a higher IgA response compared to untreated ones, in a strain- and feeding period-dependent way. HPH treatment could increase some in vivo functional characteristics of probiotic strains, highlighting the potential of this technique for the development of probiotic cultures.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Small intestine, Lactic acid, Probiotic, Lactobacillus, Lactic acid bacteria


AIMS: To isolate and characterize bacteriocins produced by predominant species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) from faeces of elderly subjects. METHODS AND RESULTS: Screening over 70,000 colonies, from faecal samples collected from 266 subjects, using the indicator organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus LMG 6901 and Listeria innocua DPC 3572, identified 55 antimicrobial-producing bacteria. Genomic fingerprinting following ApaI digestion revealed 15 distinct strains. The antimicrobial activities associated with 13 of the 15 strains were sensitive to protease treatment. The predominant antimicrobial-producing species were identified as Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus crispatus and Enterococcus spp. A number of previously characterized bacteriocins, including ABP-118 and salivaricin B (from Lb. salivarius), Enterocin B (Ent. faecium), Lactacin B (Lb. acidophilus), Gassericin T and a variant of Gassericin A (Lb. gasseri), were identified. Interestingly, two antimicrobial-producing species, not generally associated with intestinally-derived microorganisms were also isolated: Lactococcus lactis producing Nisin Z and Streptococcus mutans producing Mutacin II. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that bacteriocin production by intestinal isolates against our chosen targets under the screening conditions used was not frequent (0.08%). © 2012The Authors Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Firmicutes, Lactic acid bacteria


Enterococcus faecalis 2001 is a probiotic lactic acid bacterium and has been used as a biological response modifier (BRM). From physiological limitation of bacterial preservation in storage and safety, the live E. faecalis 2001 has been heat-treated and the BRM components containing high level of β-glucan, named EF-2001, has been prepared.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Metabolism, Microbiology, Streptococcus, Lactic acid, Lactobacillus, Lactic acid bacteria


A total of 109 lactic acid bacteria isolated from infant faeces were identified by partial 16S rRNA, cpn60 and/or pheS sequencing. Lactobacillus was the most prevalent genus, representing 48% of the isolates followed by Enterococcus (38%). Lactobacillus gasseri (21%) and Enterococcus faecalis (38%) were the main species detected. A further selection of potential probiotic starter cultures for fermented sausages focused on Lactobacillus as the most technologically relevant genus in this type of product. Lactobacilli strains were evaluated for their ability to grow in vitro in the processing conditions of fermented sausages and for their functional and safety properties, including antagonistic activity against foodborne pathogens, survival from gastrointestinal tract conditions (acidity, bile and pancreatin), tyramine production, antibiotic susceptibility and aggregation capacity. The best strains according to the results obtained were Lactobacillus casei/paracasei CTC1677, L. casei/paracasei CTC1678, Lactobacillus rhamnosus CTC1679, L. gasseri CTC1700, L. gasseri CTC1704, Lactobacillus fermentum CTC1693. Those strains were further assayed as starter cultures in model sausages. L. casei/paracasei CTC1677, L. casei/paracasei CTC1678 and L. rhamnosus CTC1679 were able to lead the fermentation and dominate (levels ca. 10(8) CFU/g) the endogenous lactic acid bacteria, confirming their suitability as probiotic starter cultures.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Metabolism, Microbiology, Lactic acid, Lactobacillus, Fermentation, Lactic acid bacteria


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are Gram-positive bacteria that are natural inhabitants of the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of mammals, including humans. Since Mechnikov first proposed that yogurt could prevent intestinal putrefaction and aging, the beneficial effects of LAB have been widely demonstrated. The region between the duodenum and the terminal of the ileum is the primary region colonized by LAB, particularly the Lactobacillus species, and this region is covered by a mucus layer composed mainly of mucin-type glycoproteins. The mucus layer plays a role in protecting the intestinal epithelial cells against damage, but is also considered to be critical for the adhesion of Lactobacillus in the GI tract. Consequently, the adhesion exhibited by lactobacilli on mucin has attracted attention as one of the critical factors contributing to the persistent beneficial effects of Lactobacillus in a constantly changing intestinal environment. Thus, understanding the interactions between Lactobacillus and mucin is crucial for elucidating the survival strategies of LAB in the GI tract. This review highlights the properties of the interactions between Lactobacillus and mucin, while concomitantly considering the structure of the GI tract from a histochemical perspective.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Digestive system, Epithelium, Stomach, Lactic acid, Lactobacillus, Lactic acid bacteria


Lactobacilli represent a major Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) component within the complex microbiota of fermented foods obtained from meat, dairy, and vegetable sources. Lactococci, on the other hand, are typical of milk and fermented dairy products, which in turn represent the vast majority of fermented foods. As is the case for all species originating from the environment, foodborne lactobacilli and lactococci consist of natural, uncharacterized strains, whose biodiversity depends on geographical origin, seasonality, animal feeding/plant growth conditions. Although a few species of opportunistic pathogens have been described, lactobacilli and lactococci are mostly non-pathogenic, Gram-positive bacteria displaying probiotic features. Since antibiotic resistant (AR) strains do not constitute an immediate threat to human health, scientific interest for detailed studies on AR genes in these species has been greatly hindered. However, increasing evidence points at a crucial role for foodborne LAB as reservoir of potentially transmissible AR genes, underlining the need for further, more detailed studies aimed at identifying possible strategies to avoid AR spread to pathogens through fermented food consumption. The availability of a growing number of sequenced bacterial genomes has been very helpful in identifying the presence/distribution of mobile elements associated with AR genes, but open questions and knowledge gaps still need to be filled, highlighting the need for systematic and datasharing approaches to implement both surveillance and mechanistic studies on transferability of AR genes. In the present review we report an update of the recent literature on AR in lactobacilli and lactococci following the 2006 EU-wide ban of the use of antibiotics as feed additives in animal farming, and we discuss the limits of the present knowledge in evaluating possible risks for human health.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Microbiology, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus, Microorganism, Lactic acid bacteria


Psychrotrophic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are the prevailing spoilage organisms in packaged cold-stored meat products. Species composition and metabolic activities of such LAB spoilage communities are determined by the nature of meat product, storage condition and interspecies interactions. Our knowledge of systems-level responses of LAB during such interactions is very limited. To expand it, we studied interactions between three common psychrotrophic spoilage LAB (Leuconostoc gelidum, Lactococcus piscium and Lactobacillus oligofermentans) by comparing their time-course transcriptome profiles obtained during their growth in individual, pairwise and triple cultures. The study revealed how these LAB employed different strategies to cope with the consequences of interspecies competition. The fastest growing bacterium, Le. gelidum, attempted to enhance its nutrient-scavenging and growth capabilities in the presence of other LAB through upregulation of the carbohydrate catabolic pathways, pyruvate fermentation enzymes and ribosomal proteins. Whereas, the slower growing Lc. piscium and Lb. oligofermentans downregulated these functions. These findings may explain the competitive success and predominance of Le. gelidum in a variety of spoiled foods. Peculiarly, interspecies interactions induced overexpression of prophage genes and restriction-modification systems (mechanisms of DNA exchange and protection against it) in Lc. piscium and Lb. oligofermentans, but not in Le. gelidum Co-cultivation induced also overexpression of the numerous putative adhesins in Lb. oligofermentans. These adhesins might contribute to the survival of this slowly growing bacterium in actively growing meat spoilage communities.Importance Despite the apparent relevance of LAB for biotechnology and human health, interactions between members of LAB communities are not well known. Knowledge of such interactions is crucial for understanding how these communities function and, consequently, whether there is any possibility to develop new strategies to interfere with the growth and to postpone spoilage of packaged and refrigerated foods. With the help of controlled experiments detailed regulation events can be observed. This study gives an insight into the system-level interactions and the different competition-induced survival strategies related to enhanced uptake and catabolism of carbon sources, overexpression of adhesins and putative bacteriocins, and to the induction of exchange of genetic material. Even though this experiment dealt only with three LAB strains in vitro, these findings agreed well with the relative abundance patterns typically reported for these species in natural food microbial communities.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Metabolism, Microbiology, RNA, Lactic acid, Lactobacillus, Lactic acid bacteria