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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1999 Feb;34(2):144-8.

Effect of propionibacteria supplementation on fecal bifidobacteria and segmental colonic transit time in healthy human subjects.

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Digestive and Nutritional Physiology Laboratory, CHU de Caen, France.



Some strains of Propionibacterium have bifidogenic properties and enhance gut motility in the animal. However, they are not part of the indigenous fecal flora. This study was designed to assess the digestive survival of ingested propionibacteria, their bifidogenic properties, and the resulting changes in colonic transit time in healthy humans.


Eighteen subjects were given 5 . 10(10) CFU propionibacteria/day during 2 weeks. Fecal concentrations of propionibacteria and bifidobacteria were counted before (day -8, day -1), during (day 7, day 14), and after (day 21, day 28) the supplementation. Colonic transit time was measured before and at the end of the 1st week of supplementation.


Basal counts of propionibacteria were less than 5 log CFU/ml stools. They increased in 15 subjects to (mean+/-1 standard deviation) 5.63+/-0.71 and 6.37+/-0.89 on day 7 (P < 0.01) and day 14 (P < 0.01) and returned to basal levels on day 21. Basal counts of bifidobacteria (mean, 7.94+/-0.71) increased to 8.39+/-0.97 on day 7, 8.36+/-0.86 on day 14, and 8.70+/-0.95 on day 21 (P < 0.05 from mean basal count) and returned to pretreatment levels on day 28 (7.88+/-1.38). Mean counts of propionibacteria during supplementation and bifidobacteria levels on day 14 were significantly correlated (P = 0.01). Transit time did not change in the right colon (17.4+/-8.1 h versus 17.3+/-8.3 h) or in the rectosigmoid area(12.8+/-8.5 versus 13.3+/-0.2 h); left colon transit was significantly slowed (7.0+/-5.0 h versus 11.9+/-9.4 h; P < 0.05).


Part of the ingested propionibacteria were able to survive the digestive transit. This supplementation was associated with changes in segmental colonic motility, yet the mechanisms involved in these changes remain unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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