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Effect of a Synbiotic Yogurt on Levels of Fecal Bifidobacteria, Clostridia, and Enterobacteria

  • 2012-02-15
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78(4)
    • Amritanshu Palaria
    • I. Johnson-Kanda
    • D. O'sullivan

Abstract

While ingestion of synbiotic yogurts containing Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis and inulin is increasing, their effect on certain microbial groups in the human intestine is unclear. To further investigate this, a large-scale, crossover-design, placebo-controlled study was utilized to evaluate the effect of a synbiotic yogurt containing B. animalis subsp. lactis Bb-12 and inulin on the human intestinal bifidobacteria, clostridia, and enterobacteria. Fecal samples were collected at 14 time points from 46 volunteers who completed the study, and changes in the intestinal bacterial levels were monitored using real-time PCR. Strain Bb-12 could not be detected in feces after 2 weeks of washout. A live/dead PCR procedure indicated that the Bb-12 strain detected in the fecal samples was alive. A significant increase (P < 0.001) in the total bifidobacterial numbers was seen in both groups of subjects during the final washout period compared to the prefeeding period. This increase in total bifidobacteria corresponded with a significant decrease (P < 0.05) in numbers of clostridia but not enterobacteria. No significant differences in numbers of bifidobacteria, clostridia, or enterobacteria were observed between the probiotic and placebo groups during any of the feeding periods. However, subgrouping subjects based on lower initial bifidobacterial numbers or higher initial clostridial numbers did show corresponding significant differences between the synbiotic yogurt and placebo groups. This was not observed for a subgroup with higher initial enterobacterial numbers. While this synbiotic yogurt can increase bifidobacterial numbers and decrease clostridial numbers (but not enterobacterial numbers) in some individuals, it cannot modulate these microbial groups in the majority of individuals.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bifidobacterium animalisIncreased Bifidobacterial PopulationBeneficial
Large
Bifidobacterium animalisReduced Clostridium Species NumbersBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium animalisStable Enterobacterial NumbersNeutral
Small
Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-02Increased Bifidobacteria LevelsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-02Reduced Clostridium Species NumbersBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12Increased Bifidobacterial PopulationBeneficial
Large
Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12Modulated Gut MicrobiotaBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12Reduced Clostridium Species NumbersBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12Stable Enterobacterial NumbersNeutral
Small
Bifidobacterium lactis HDS Bb-02Increased Bifidobacteria LevelsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis HDS Bb-02Microbial Group Modulation with Bifidobacterial ReductionBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis HDS Bb-02Reduced Clostridium Species NumbersBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium lactis HDS Bb-02Stable Enterobacterial NumbersNeutral
Small

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