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Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 – an antimicrobial and antioxidative probiotic

  • 2009-01
  • Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 21(1)
    • M. Mikelsaar
    • M. Zilmer


The paper lays out the short scientific history and characteristics of the new probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum strain ME-3 DSM-14241, elaborated according to the regulations of WHO/FAO (2002). L. fermentum ME-3 is a unique strain of Lactobacillus species, having at the same time the antimicrobial and physiologically effective antioxidative properties and expressing health-promoting characteristics if consumed. Tartu University has patented this strain in Estonia (priority June 2001, patent in 2006), Russia (patent in 2006) and the USA (patent in 2007). The paper describes the process of the identification and molecular typing of this probiotic strain of human origin, its deposition in an international culture collection, and its safety assessment by laboratory tests and testing on experimental animals and volunteers. It has been established that L. fermentum strain ME-3 has double functional properties: antimicrobial activity against intestinal pathogens and high total antioxidative activity (TAA) and total antioxidative status (TAS) of intact cells and lysates, and it is characterized by a complete glutathione system: synthesis, uptake and redox turnover. The functional efficacy of the antimicrobial and antioxidative probiotic has been proven by the eradication of salmonellas and the reduction of liver and spleen granulomas in Salmonella Typhimurium-infected mice treated with the combination of ofloxacin and L. fermentum strain ME-3. Using capsules or foodstuffs enriched with L. fermentum ME-3, different clinical study designs (including double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover studies) and different subjects (healthy volunteers, allergic patients and those recovering from a stroke), it has been shown that this probiotic increased the antioxidative activity of sera and improved the composition of the low-density lipid particles (LDL) and post-prandial lipids as well as oxidative stress status, thus demonstrating a remarkable anti-atherogenic effect. The elaboration of the probiotic L. fermentum strain ME-3 has drawn on wide international cooperative research and has taken more than 12 years altogether. The new ME-3 probiotic-containing products have been successfully marketed and sold in Baltic countries and Finland.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3Enhanced Antimicrobial Activity Against Intestinal PathogensBeneficial
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3Improved Low-Density Lipoprotein CompositionBeneficial
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3Increased Antioxidant ActivityBeneficial
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3Reduced AtherosclerosisBeneficial
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3Reduced Oxidative StressBeneficial
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