Food Science and Technology Department


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Krumbeck JA, Maldonado-Gomez MX, Martínez I, Frese SA, Burkey TE, Rasineni K, Ramer-Tait AE, Harris EN, Hutkins RW, Walter J. 2015. In vivo selection to identify bacterial strains with enhanced ecological performance in synbiotic applications. Appl Environ Microbiol 81:2455–2465. doi:10.1128/AEM.03903-14.


Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.


One strategy for enhancing the establishment of probiotic bacteria in the human intestinal tract is via the parallel administration of a prebiotic, which is referred to as a synbiotic. Here we present a novel method that allows a rational selection of putative probiotic strains to be used in synbiotic applications: in vivo selection (IVS). This method consists of isolating candidate probiotic strains from fecal samples following enrichment with the respective prebiotic. To test the potential of IVS, we isolated bifidobacteria from human subjects who consumed increasing doses of galactooligosaccharides (GOS) for 9 weeks. A retrospective analysis of the fecal microbiota of one subject revealed an 8-fold enrichment in Bifidobacterium adolescentis strain IVS-1 during GOS administration. The functionality of GOS to support the establishment of IVS-1 in the gastrointestinal tract was then evaluated in rats administered the bacterial strain alone, the prebiotic alone, or the synbiotic combination. Strain-specific quantitative real-time PCR showed that the addition of GOS increased B. adolescentis IVS-1 abundance in the distal intestine by nearly 2 logs compared to rats receiving only the probiotic. Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing not only confirmed the increased establishment of IVS-1 in the intestine but also revealed that the strain was able to outcompete the resident Bifidobacterium population when provided with GOS. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that IVS can be used to successfully formulate a synergistic synbiotic that can substantially enhance the establishment and competitiveness of a putative probiotic strain in the gastrointestinal tract.

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