Probiotic bacteria as potential detoxification tools: assessing their heavy metal binding isotherms

Can J Microbiol. 2006 Sep;52(9):877-85. doi: 10.1139/w06-043.


Dietary exposure to heavy metals may have detrimental effects on human and animal health, even at low concentrations. Specific probiotic bacteria may have properties that enable them to bind toxins from food and water. We assessed the interaction of probiotic bacteria with cadmium and lead in vitro as an initial screening step to identify strains for heavy metal decontamination in food and intestinal models. Binding isotherms for cadmium and lead were characterized for Lactobacillus rhamnosus LC-705, Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii JS and a mix of them used by the food industry. Differences among the strains and their combinations in binding performance at a range of concentrations between 0.1 and 100 mg.L-1 were evaluated with the Langmuir model for biosorption. The effects of pH, contact time, and viability on the binding capacities were also investigated. All strains and their combinations were found to bind cadmium and lead efficiently at low concentration ranges commonly observed in foods. However, the two strains and their combinations differed significantly in their maximum binding capacities and affinities represented by the Langmuir constants Qmax and b, respectively. The binding seemed to occur instantaneously and in a pH-dependent manner, which can be perfectly described by a segmented linear-plateau model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cadmium / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus / metabolism
  • Lead / metabolism
  • Metals, Heavy / chemistry
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism*
  • Probiotics / metabolism*
  • Propionibacterium / metabolism
  • Thermodynamics


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Cadmium
  • Lead