Aims: To investigate the effect of various carbon sources on the production of extracellular antagonistic compounds against two Escherichia coli strains and Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium by three canine-derived lactobacilli strains.
Methods and materials: Cell-free preparations, pH neutralized, were used in antibiotic disc experiments as an initial screening. The bacteria/carbohydrate combinations that showed inhibition of the growth of those pathogens, were further investigated in batch co-culture experiments. The cell-free supernatants of the cultures, that decreased the population number of the pathogens in the co-culture experiments to log CFU ml-1 <or= 4, were tested for inhibition of the pathogens in pure cultures at neutral and acidic pH.
Conclusions: The results showed that the substrate seems to affect the production of antimicrobial compounds and this effect could not just be ascribed to the ability of the bacteria to grow in the various carbon sources. L. mucosae, L. acidophilus and L. reuteri, when grown in sugar mixtures consisting of alpha-glucosides (Degree of Polymerization (DP) 1-4) could produce antimicrobial compounds active against all three pathogens in vitro. This effect could not be attributed to a single ingredient of those sugar mixtures and was synergistic. This inhibition had a dose-response characteristic and was more active at acidic pH.
Significance and impact of the study: Knowledge of the effect that the carbon source has on the production of antimicrobial compounds by gut-associated lactobacilli allows the rational design of prebiotic/probiotic combinations to combat gastrointestinal pathogens.