Scientists at University College Cork have discovered that probiotic bacteria can protect against bacterial infection. The work was carried out in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) in UCC.
The APC, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, was set up investigate the beneficial roles of the bacteria found in the gastro-intestine of healthy humans.
The research group examined a range of beneficial bacteria and found one specific probiotic bacterium (Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118) which was able to kill Listeria monocytogenes, an often lethal pathogen in pregnant women. The probiotic kills the pathogen by producing an antibiotic-like compound called a bacteriocin. Tests showed that Lactobacillus salivarius offered significant protection against Listeria infection but that a strain of non-bacteriocin producing Lactobacillus generated by the researchers did not.
The results of the UCC work clearly demonstrate a role for bacteriocins in protecting the host against potentially lethal infections. The study is the first to clearly demonstrate a mechanism by which probiotic bacteria may act to help improve the health of consumers.
The results may prove to be very significant, in that Listeria monocytogenes is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, and in a number of other high risk groups, but is too rare to warrant vaccination or preventative antibiotic therapy. A probiotic taken during pregnancy could well provide protection against Listeria infection in a form which would be acceptable to expectant mothers.
The study was primarily conducted by Sinead Corr as part of her research towards her PhD, but also involved key contributions from other APC scientists Yin Li and Christian Riedel. The research was supervised by APC Principal Investigators Colin Hill, Cormac Gahan and Paul O’Toole from the Department of Microbiology and the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork.
Bacteriocin production as a mechanism for the antiinfective activity of Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118, Corr et al., (2007) Proceeding National Academy Science USA May 1 2007 vol 104 no. 18 , 7617-7621
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Lexus Hoverboard Gets Off The Ground
- EWG's Little Site Of Horrors
- What May Be Missing From Quantum Computing - A Quantum Middle Man
- Predictive Coding Theory: How Our Brains Recognize Faces From Minimal Information
- New Mars Colony Mission Crowdfunds its Way to the Red Planet
- What Food Can You Safely Share With An ET?
- "That stays on course with the humor theme, because homeopaths have never had a citation...."
- "the authors refer to an out of date vision of memristor. The general theory of first, second, third..."
- "You may have gone the wrong way on this one. I think nemo was only making an amusing observation..."
- "I don't really see where this would be about money, as I can't see how Heather Bloom could get..."
- "Loved the link. If I had to guess, much like everything else, money is the driving force behind..."
- First trial of gene therapy for cystic fibrosis shows beneficial effect on lung function
- We're not alone, mathematically, but the universe may be less crowded than we think
- Income taxes give a more accurate picture of the value of a college degree
- Human antibody blocks dengue virus in mice
- Elastic gel to heal wounds