Honeybees as a Source of Natural Probiotic Yeasts

Jenn Hoskins
31st March, 2024

Honeybees as a Source of Natural Probiotic Yeasts

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study from Polytechnic University of Marche identified yeast strains with probiotic potential from the honeybee ecosystem
  • Out of 55 yeast strains tested, 27 showed resilience to simulated human gut conditions
  • Seven strains, all from the Meyerozyma genus, exhibited promising probiotic characteristics, including the ability to adhere to human intestinal cells and inhibit harmful bacteria
In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in probiotics, the beneficial microorganisms that contribute to human health. Probiotics are commonly associated with gut health, aiding digestion, and bolstering the immune system. A new study by researchers at the Polytechnic University of Marche[1] has taken a significant step forward in identifying potential probiotic yeast strains that could be beneficial to humans. Yeast, a type of fungus, has been used in food production and medicine for centuries. Most people are familiar with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast used in baking bread and brewing beer. However, there is a diverse world of yeast species, many of which are untapped resources for potential probiotic applications. The study at hand has focused on yeasts from the honeybee ecosystem, exploring their probiotic traits and ensuring their safety for human consumption. The researchers began by examining 55 yeast strains from various genera, including Candida, Debaryomyces, Hanseniaspora, Lachancea, Metschnikowia, Meyerozyma, Starmerella, and Zygosacchromyces. They assessed each strain's ability to withstand the harsh conditions of the human gastrointestinal tract, such as acidic pH and bile salts. They also evaluated how well the yeasts could adhere to human intestinal cells, form biofilms, and exhibit antimicrobial activity against common pathogenic bacteria. The study found that more than half of the yeast strains were unable to survive the acidic and bile salt conditions that mimic the human gut environment. A subsequent protease test, which simulates the effect of digestive enzymes, further narrowed down the list of potential probiotics to 27 strains. These strains showed resilience and the ability to potentially thrive within the human digestive system. An integrated analysis of the results identified seven yeast strains with promising probiotic characteristics, all belonging to the Meyerozyma genus. Three of these strains were identified as Meyerozyma guilliermondii and four as Meyerozyma caribbica. This finding is particularly interesting as it aligns with earlier research that highlighted the probiotic potential of Meyerozyma species in different contexts[2][3]. Previous studies have also shown the broad spectrum of environments where probiotic yeasts can be found. For instance, research has indicated that wild yeasts from natural environments and spontaneously fermented foods exhibit probiotic features[2]. Additionally, the stable presence of certain yeast species in the honeybee gut and products throughout seasons suggests a robustness that could be beneficial in a probiotic context[4]. The antagonistic activity of certain yeast strains against pathogens has been previously documented, such as the ability of Aureobasidium pullulans and Meyerozyma guilliermondii to inhibit the growth of postharvest pathogens in fruits[5]. This biocontrol activity supports the idea that yeasts can play a role in inhibiting harmful bacteria in the human gut as well. Moreover, the study aligns with the growing consumer interest in natural and functional foods. The potential for new probiotic yeasts to be incorporated into foods and beverages offers exciting possibilities for health-conscious consumers. For example, the use of Meyerozyma caribbica in fermented pineapple beverages has been shown to result in a product with favorable sensory and nutritional properties[3]. The research from the Polytechnic University of Marche contributes to a deeper understanding of the probiotic potential of yeasts, particularly those from the Meyerozyma genus. By isolating and characterizing these strains, the study opens the door for further exploration into their use in food and health industries. As consumer demand for probiotic products continues to grow, such research is vital for developing new and effective probiotic strains that can enhance human health.



Main Study

1) Agro-ecosystem of honeybees as source for native probiotic yeasts

Published 28th March, 2024


Related Studies

2) Potential Probiotic Yeasts Sourced from Natural Environmental and Spontaneous Processed Foods.


3) Probiotic potential of yeasts isolated from pineapple and their use in the elaboration of potentially functional fermented beverages.


4) Yeast communities related to honeybees: occurrence and distribution in flowers, gut mycobiota, and bee products.


5) Biocontrol ability and action mechanisms of Aureobasidium pullulans GE17 and Meyerozyma guilliermondii KL3 against Penicillium digitatum DSM2750 and Penicillium expansum DSM62841 causing postharvest diseases.


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