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Benef Microbes. 2014 Dec;5(4):367-75. doi: 10.3920/BM2013.0087.

Voluntarily exposure to a single, high dose of probiotic Escherichia coli results in prolonged colonisation.

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Molecular Microbiology and Genomics Consultants, Tannenstrasse 7, 55576 Zotzenheim, Germany.
Vermicon AG, Emmy-Noether-Straße 2, 80992 München, Germany.
Medical Services, Hennigsdorfer Str. 141S, 13503 Berlin, Germany.
SymbioPharm GmbH, Auf den Lüppen 8, 35745 Herborn, Germany.


The ability of probiotic Escherichia coli to colonise the human gut was determined in a volunteer study following national (German) regulations. Five persons voluntarily took a single, high dose of Symbioflor®2, which contains 6 different probiotic E. coli genotypes, to assess tolerance of the product, after which presence of E. coli in their faeces was tested for a follow-up period of 30 weeks. Intake of the product did not result in severe side effect in any of the individuals, though mild side effects were observed. Stool analysis showed that the probiotic E. coli had colonised all five persons for a period of 10 to 30 weeks (mean: 18.7 weeks, median: 25.7 weeks). In two individuals there was evidence of competition between host E. coli and probiotic E. coli, while in two others total E. coli levels increased persistently with at least a factor of 10 as a result of the received dose. In one individual, who had lacked detectable levels of faecal E. coli at the start of the post-authorisation safety study, long-term colonisation was established, first by probiotic E. coli exclusively, which were later replaced by host E. coli strains. In four out of five individuals, total E. coli faecal counts were higher on average than at the start of the experiment, while in none total levels exceeded 5×107 cfu/g. When the specific genotypes of the 6 probiotic E. coli were analysed, it was found that one and the same common genotype was responsible for prolonged colonisation in all five individuals.


Escherichia coli; colonisation; colonisation fitness; persistence; probiotic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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