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In vitro studies on colonization resistance of the human gut microbiota to Candida albicans and the effects of tetracycline and Lactobacillus plantarum LPK.

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Food Microbial Sciences Unit, School of Food Biosciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 226, Reading RG6 6AP, UK.


An anaerobic three-vessel continuous-flow culture system, which models the three major anatomical regions of the human colon, was used to study the persistence of Candida albicans in the presence of a faecal microbiota. During steady state conditions, overgrowth of C. albicans was prevented by commensal bacteria indigenous to the system. However antibiotics, such as tetracycline have the ability to disrupt the bacterial populations within the gut. Thus, colonization resistance can be compromised and overgrowth of undesirable microorganisms like C. albicans can then occur. In this study, growth of C. albicans was not observed in the presence of an established faecal microbiota. However, following the addition of tetracycline to the growth medium, significant growth of C. albicans occurred. A probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum LPK culture was added to the system to investigate whether this organism had any effects upon the Candida populations. Although C. albicans was not completely eradicated in the presence of this bacterium, cell counts were markedly reduced, indicating a compromised physiological function. This study shows that the normal gut flora can exert 'natural' resistance to C. albicans, however this may be diminished during antibiotic intake. The use of probiotics can help fortify natural resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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