Staphylococcus aureus adheres to human intestinal mucus but can be displaced by certain lactic acid bacteria

Microbiology. 2006 Jun;152(Pt 6):1819-1826. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.28522-0.


There is increasing evidence that Staphylococcus aureus may colonize the intestinal tract, especially among hospitalized patients. As Staph. aureus has been found to be associated with certain gastrointestinal diseases, it has become important to study whether this bacterium can colonize the intestinal tract and if so, whether it is possible to prevent colonization. Adhesion is the first step in colonization; this study shows that Staph. aureus adheres to mucus from resected human intestinal tissue. Certain lactic acid bacteria (LAB), mainly commercial probiotics, were able to reduce adhesion and viability of adherent Staph. aureus. In displacement assays the amount of adherent Staph. aureus in human intestinal mucus was reduced 39-44% by Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis and Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii. Moreover, adherent Lactobacillus reuteri, Lc. lactis and P. freudenreichii reduced viability of adherent Staph. aureus by 27-36%, depending on the strain, after 2 h incubation. This was probably due to the production of organic acids and hydrogen peroxide and possibly in the case of L. reuteri to the production of reuterin. This study shows for the first time that Staph. aureus can adhere to human intestinal mucus and adherent bacteria can be displaced and killed by certain LAB strains via in situ production of antimicrobial substances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Lactobacillus / physiology
  • Lactococcus lactis / physiology
  • Mucus / microbiology*
  • Propionibacterium / physiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*