Safe and Helpful Bacteria Fighting Mouth Germs and Drug Resistance

Jim Crocker
4th April, 2024

Safe and Helpful Bacteria Fighting Mouth Germs and Drug Resistance

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study at Handong Global University found certain bacteria from kimchi and banana safe for potential health use
  • These bacteria can survive harsh conditions like those in the human gut, suggesting they could benefit health when ingested
  • The bacteria were also shown to inhibit oral pathogens, indicating potential for oral health applications
Bacteriocins are a group of antimicrobial peptides produced by bacteria, traditionally known for their role in food preservation. These substances have been employed to prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of various food products by inhibiting the growth of closely-related bacteria. However, recent research has revealed that bacteriocins have a broader potential than previously thought, including applications in human health and the control of pathogens[2]. Scientists at Handong Global University have conducted a study[1] to explore the safety and beneficial properties of certain bacteriocinogenic strains, which are bacteria capable of producing bacteriocins. Specifically, the researchers focused on strains previously isolated from kimchi and banana: Pediococcus pentosaceus 732, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis 431, and Lactococcus lactis 808. These strains were evaluated for their ability to inhibit harmful pathogens, which could have significant implications for their use as probiotics or in medical applications. The study begins by ensuring the safety of these strains for potential use. The researchers conducted a series of tests, including physiological, biochemical, and biomolecular assays, to confirm that the strains did not carry harmful virulence genes. The only gene detected was the gad gene, related to the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter, in two of the strains. This is important because safety is a critical concern when considering the introduction of live microorganisms into food products or the human body[3]. In terms of beneficial properties, the strains were found to be non-producers of gelatinase and biogenic amines, which are associated with negative health effects. They also displayed susceptibility to antibiotics, with the exception of streptomycin, tobramycin, and vancomycin for Pediococcus pentosaceus 732. This antibiotic susceptibility is key, as it indicates that these strains are less likely to contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance[4]. Furthermore, the study revealed that the bacteriocinogenic strains could survive in harsh conditions, such as the presence of bile and low pH levels, which are similar to the conditions found in the human gastrointestinal tract. This suggests that these strains could potentially survive long enough to confer health benefits when ingested[5]. The researchers also conducted a challenge test in an artificial saliva model to assess the strains' ability to inhibit oral pathogens. This is significant because it opens the door to the possible use of these strains in oral health, adding to the expanding applications of bacteriocins from food preservation to human health[4]. The study from Handong Global University contributes to a growing body of research that suggests bacteriocins have much wider applications than previously recognized. By confirming the safety and beneficial properties of these bacteriocinogenic strains, and demonstrating their potential to inhibit pathogens, the research offers promising insights into the future use of bacteriocins in various fields, including the food industry, probiotics, and even medical treatments. As the scientific community continues to explore the full potential of bacteriocins, it is essential to critically assess each new application proposal. The line between realistic, science-based proposals and speculative fiction can be drawn by carefully analyzing data, considering safety, and evaluating efficacy in controlled studies[2]. With rigorous research and validation, bacteriocins could become a powerful tool in the fight against pathogens and diseases, far beyond their traditional role in food biopreservation.



Main Study

1) Safety and Beneficial Properties of Bacteriocinogenic Lactococcus lactis and Pediococcus pentosaceus Strains, and Their Effect Versus Oral Cavity Related and Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens.

Published 2nd April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Bacteriocins of Gram-positive bacteria having activity spectra extending beyond closely-related species.

3) Use of Bacteriocins and Bacteriocinogenic Beneficial Organisms in Food Products: Benefits, Challenges, Concerns.

4) Functions and emerging applications of bacteriocins.

5) Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic.

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