Pediatric probiotic culture survival study in acidic pH using an in vitro model

(1) Ursuline Academy, Dedham, Massachusetts, USA , (2) University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, (3) Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

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Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two genera of bacteria in probiotics that are known to possess significant immunomodulatory health-promoting properties. Probiotics are allowed to be used in foods and vitamins by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with little regulation as long as there are no claims to treat any disorder or condition. Regulatory agencies throughout the word classify and define probiotics differently with an uncertainty on the efficacy. The viability of bacterial strains influence probiotic stability and properties can be influenced by manufacturing and storage processes. It is imperative to also consider the viability of the probiotics after consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate the survival of the strains in the commercial probiotic Lovebug in acidic conditions modeling the human upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract in vitro. To test the ability of probiotics strains in the Lovebug probiotic to survive under acidic conditions, we incubated the probiotics in degassed acidified 0.8% sodium chloride at various pH levels for 2 h and measured the resulting colony forming units. Our study observed an overall survival of approximately 20–40 % after being incubated for 2 hours at pH 2–4. This supports that the bacterial genera of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the probiotic Lovebug would likely survive at a high enough rate in the human upper GI tract to provide benefit to the pediatric population.

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