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In vitro selection criteria for probiotic bacteria of human origin: correlation with in vivo findings.

  • 2001-02
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 73(2)
    • C. Dunne
    • L. O’Mahony
    • L. Murphy
    • G. Thornton
    • Darrin Morrissey
    • Sile O'Halloran
    • M. Feeney
    • S. Flynn
    • G. Fitzgerald
    • C. Daly
    • B. Kiely
    • G. O'sullivan
    • F. Shanahan
    • J. Collins


The enteric flora comprises approximately 95% of the total number of cells in the human body and can elicit immune responses while protecting against microbial pathogens. However, the resident bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract may also be implicated in the pathogenesis of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease). The objectives of the Probiotic Research Group based at University College Cork were to isolate and identify lactic acid bacteria exhibiting beneficial probiotic traits, such as bile tolerance in the absence of deconjugation activity, acid resistance, adherence to host epithelial tissue, and in vitro antagonism of pathogenic microorganisms or those suspected of promoting inflammation. To isolate potentially effective probiotic bacteria, we screened the microbial population adhering to surgically resected segments of the gastrointestinal tract (the environment in which they may subsequently be reintroduced and required to function). In total, 1500 bacterial strains from resected human terminal ilea were assessed. From among these organisms, Lactobacillus salivarius subsp. salivarius strain UCC118 was selected for further study. In mouse feeding trials, milk-borne L. salivarius strain UCC118 could successfully colonize the murine gastrointestinal tract. A human feeding study conducted in 80 healthy volunteers showed that yogurt can be used as a vehicle for delivery of strain UCC118 to the human gastrointestinal tract with considerable efficacy in influencing gut flora and colonization. In summary, we developed criteria for in vitro selection of probiotic bacteria that may reflect certain in vivo effects on the host such as modulation of gastrointestinal tract microflora.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118Improved Nutrient Delivery through Yogurt ConsumptionBeneficial
Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118Successful Gastrointestinal Tract ColonizationBeneficial

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