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?
- Corals: Not So Passive, They Are Nature's Tiny Engineers
- Neil Tyson On The Politics Of Science Denial
- Global 'Roadmap' Shows Where To Put Roads Without Costing The Earth
- Mutating Ebola Viruses Not As Scary As Evolving Ones
- Raloxifene: X-Ray Scattering Reveals A New Mode Of Action For Osteoporosis Drug
- Low Carb Vs. Low Fat Diets: Which Is Better?
- Synaptic Plasticity And Memory In Silent Neurons
- "You're right, people are too variable to say for sure but a large enough sample can inform how..."
- "Not taking a position on potential bias/non-bias, I find it difficult to believe that ANY simulation..."
- "I think science media, especially the bloggers have become more cynical with age. I should..."
- "Well ranted. Why is it that we can't have the more efficient, better-mileage, diesels that Europeans..."
- "You might be misunderstanding what 'data' are. You ignored 50 articles, including ones in the Related..."