Comparing the Dietary Preference of Caenorhabditis elegans for Bacterial Probiotics vs. Escherichia coli.

(1) Weston High School, Weston, Massachusetts
Cover photo for Comparing the Dietary Preference of <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> for Bacterial Probiotics vs. <i>Escherichia coli</i>.

The use of probiotics is on the rise as more people are learning about their possible health benefits. In this experiment, we used C. elegans as a simple model organism to observe the impact of probiotics on the human digestive system. In this investigation the dietary preference of C. elegans was tested using three different bacterial probiotics (Chobani, siggi's and Stonyfield) and the control nutrient source, E. coli. The results of the experiment showed that the C. elegans were, on average, most present in Chobani cultures. At the end of the observation period, there were, on average, about 1,207 C. elegans present in the E. coli quadrants, and about 1,314 C. elegans present in the Chobani quadrants, as compared to 1,133 C. elegans in the siggi's quadrants and 981 in the Stonyfield quadrants. There were about 8.9% more C. elegans present in the Chobani quadrants than in the E. coli quadrants. Additionally, the Chobani quadrants grew, on average, by 188 C. elegans/day, 9.3% more than the 172 C. elegans/day growth in the E. coli quadrants. While not statistically significant, these results still demonstrated that C. elegans might prefer Chobani cultures over other probiotic yogurts, which may also indicate greater gut benefits from Chobani over the other yogurt brands tested.

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