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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Oct;75(19):6198-204. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01054-09. Epub 2009 Aug 14.

Survival of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in the human gastrointestinal tract with daily consumption of a low-fat probiotic spread.

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  • 1Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, 3130 AC Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.


Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Therefore, probiotic strains should be able to survive passage through the human gastrointestinal tract. Human gastrointestinal tract survival of probiotics in a low-fat spread matrix has, however, never been tested. The objective of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human intervention study was to test the human gastrointestinal tract survival of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG after daily consumption of a low-fat probiotic spread by using traditional culturing, as well as molecular methods. Forty-two healthy human volunteers were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups provided with 20 g of placebo spread (n = 13), 20 g of spread with a target dose of 1 x 10(9) CFU of L. reuteri DSM 17938 (n = 13), or 20 g of spread with a target dose of 5 x 10(9) CFU of L. rhamnosus GG (n = 16) daily for 3 weeks. Fecal samples were obtained before and after the intervention period. A significant increase, compared to the baseline, in the recovery of viable probiotic lactobacilli in fecal samples was demonstrated after 3 weeks of daily consumption of the spread containing either L. reuteri DSM 17938 or L. rhamnosus GG by selective enumeration. In the placebo group, no increase was detected. The results of selective enumeration were supported by quantitative PCR, detecting a significant increase in DNA resulting from the probiotics after intervention. Overall, our results indicate for the first time that low-fat spread is a suitable carrier for these probiotic strains.

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