Dr. Andreia Bianchini
Dr. Jayne Stratton
Date of this Version
Probiotics are live organisms, that when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. To achieve probiotic status, each potential strain’s functional properties and their safety to the consumer must be comprehensively evaluated. Probiotic effects have been observed to be strain specific, therefore each new strain of interest must be characterized according to their phenotypic and genetic characteristics. There is a list of characteristics that potential probiotic strains should have to be considered as a probiotic. Potential probiotic strains should be evaluated for their acid and bile salt resistance, antimicrobial activity and adherence and colonization to intestinal cells in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, those that may be used as additives to food products should be evaluated for their survival during processing and storage of those products.
The most common, and most researched, probiotic strains belong to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteriumgenera. However, there have been many reports of low viability of these strains in the delivery product by the end of the shelf life. This can cause problems as there is a desired level of probiotics that needs to be consumed to promote health benefits on the host. This problem has led the probiotic industry to research the probiotic properties of sporeforming organisms. Spores are dormant structures that are more resistant to heat, cold, acidity and desiccation. This inherent protection could help improve the survival of the organism in the product and through transit of the gastrointestinal tract.
Bacillus coagulansis a Gram positive, lactic acid producing, facultative anaerobe and sporeforming bacteria strain that is drawing the attention of the probiotic industry. While research is still limited on this organism, there have been studies showing improvement of irritable bowel syndrome, Clostridium difficile induced colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and major depressive disorders associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, reports have shown the ability of Bacillusspores to reach and germinate in the gut, which is an important characteristic of potential probiotic strains. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the probiotic properties of the commercial Bacillus coagulans Unique IS-2, for its potential inclusion in food products.
Advisor: Andreia Bianchini