Light shed on the secret behind probiotic bacteria promoting health

Oct 05, 2009

Functional food is the food industry's fastest-growing product group, its leading products including dairy products which contain probiotics, that is, bacteria promoting health. Valio's Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®) is the most frequently studied and used probiotic. Under the supervision of researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology, and the Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences at the University of Helsinki, an international research team determined the genome sequences of LGG and a bacterium closely related to it. The results, published in the renowned PNAS journal, shed light on the origin of probiotic mechanisms and promote product development in the food industry.

Functional includes products designed for daily use, which have been shown by clinical studies to have positive health effects. Scientific study results have particularly contributed to the success of dairy products containing probiotic bacteria. Many research publications have confirmed that these bacteria promote health and boosts immune system and improve digestion. Some probiotics can also alleviate the symptoms suffered by those with . As many as every fifth westerner suffers from this pain, also called spastic colon. Studies say that LGG probiotics are also an effective treatment method for reducing children's atopic symptoms, and the risk of respiratory infections.

In its recent publication, the research team showed that the protein component found by the team has a fundamental role in LGG binding with the human intestinal mucus. The team found out that the surface structures of LGG has a specific adhesion component. Remarkably, the binding feature has been assumed to be one of the most important characteristics of bacteria with health-benefiting effects. Moreover, the researchers assume that the protein structure in question enables the health-promoting effects of LGG and other probiotic bacteria, and the positive immune modulation produced by them.

The research is a prime example of productive co-operation between researchers and the food industry. According to Tuomas Salusjärvi, research manager for Valio, the successful sequencing provides valuable additional information to support the already existing research information. The safety of the LGG probiotic and its advantages to consumers can now be shown in an even better way than before. A significant research field has been established around probiotic . So far, thousands of scientific articles have been published on the subject. For this line of research, the findings of the genome, and the molecular mechanism possibly behind probiotics, is a downright breakthrough.

More information: The original publication is available online at: www.pnas.org/content/early/200… /0908876106.abstract

Source: University of Helsinki

Explore further: Science could make canola oil more nutritious, and broccoli more tasty

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

What else may probiotics do in adults?

May 20, 2008

Probiotic bacteria, defined as living microorganisms that have beneficial effects on human health, have mostly been studied in the prevention and treatment of different gastrointestinal diseases and allergies. Probiotic products, ...

Scientists discover technique to help 'friendly bacteria'

Sep 21, 2007

There is currently a great deal of interest in the health-associated properties of probiotics, also known as ‘beneficial’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria, and prebiotics, the food needed for the growth of probiotic when inside ...

Study recommends diet with good bacteria

Aug 08, 2006

A British study says those over 60 should boost their daily intake of probiotics, or diet with "good bacteria," to prevent intestinal infections.

Recommended for you

Biotech firm's GM mosquitoes to fight dengue in Brazil

8 hours ago

It's a dry winter day in southeast Brazil, but a steamy tropical summer reigns inside the labs at Oxitec, where workers are making an unusual product: genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever.

Evolutionary history of honeybees revealed by genomics

Aug 24, 2014

In a study published in Nature Genetics, researchers from Uppsala University present the first global analysis of genome variation in honeybees. The findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic divers ...

User comments : 0