Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Dec;54(6):1041-6.

Strains and species of lactic acid bacteria in fermented milks (yogurts): effect on in vivo lactose digestion.

Author information

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul 55108.


Lactose in yogurt with live bacteria is better tolerated than lactose in other dairy foods, partly because of the activity of microbial beta-galactosidase (beta-gal), which digests lactose in vivo. To evaluate the ability of different strains and species of lactic acid bacteria to digest lactose in vivo, yogurts (containing mixtures of strains of Streptococcus salivarius subsp thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus) and fermented milks (containing individual species of S thermophilus, L bulgaricus, L acidophilus, or Bifidobacterium bifidus) that varied in microbial beta-gal activity were produced. Selected products were fed to healthy people who cannot digest lactose, and breath hydrogen production was monitored. All yogurts dramatically and similarly improved lactose digestion, regardless of their total or specific beta-gal activity. The response to fermented milks varied from marginal improvement with B bifidus milk to nearly complete lactose digestion with L bulgaricus milk. The results suggest that total beta-gal was not the limiting factor in promoting lactose digestion, perhaps because of a limited rate of intracellular substrate transport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center