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Open Access Research

Assessment of a new synbiotic preparation in healthy volunteers: survival, persistence of probiotic strains and its effect on the indigenous flora

Lorenzo Morelli1*, Daniela Zonenschain1, Maria Luisa Callegari2, Enzo Grossi3, Federico Maisano3 and Michele Fusillo3

Author Affiliations

1 Istituto di Microbiologia – UCSC, Via Emilia Parmense 84 Piacenza-Italy

2 Centro Ricerche Biotecnologiche UCSC, Via Milano 24 – Cremona-Italy

3 Medical Department, Bracco SpA, Via Folli 50, Milan Italy

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Nutrition Journal 2003, 2:11  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-2-11

Published: 9 October 2003

Abstract

Background

Use of synbiotic preparations as dietary supplement is believed to be a valid approach to restore and maintain colonic microflora. However, only few papers have been published on the assessment of these food supplements and none of them have used molecular biology techniques to evaluate the effects of the probiotic components.

Methods

Twelve healthy volunteers were recruited. Faecal samples were taken before and at various time points during the administration period and at day 3 in the post-treatment period. Stool culture were performed and amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis was used to detect L. paracasei, the major bacterial component of the synbiotic products.

Results

An increase of at least 1 log of L. paracasei-like bacteria was observed in all subjects. An increase of as much as 3 log was seen in subjects who had a low number of L. paracasei-like lactobacilli at the baseline. The counts of L. paracasei-like lactobacilli were found to persist for at least 3 days after discontinuation of intake in healthy volunteers in 7 subjects. Genetic analysis showed that the maiority of vancomicin insensitive lactobacilli were real L. paracasei, as the strains administered with the tested product.

Conclusion

This study has shown that the strains of L paracasei administered with a synbiotic dietary supplement are able to survive through the gastrointestinal tract and to persist for at least a few days. It was also shown the efficacy of a synbiotic preparation to positively affect the microflora of healthy volunteers.