Aims: The aims of this study present were to assess and to evaluate in vitro the abilities of commercial probiotic strains derived from fermented milk products and related sources currently marketed in European countries, to inhibit, compete and displace the adhesion of selected potential pathogens to immobilized human mucus.
Methods and results: The adhesion was assessed by measuring the radioactivity of bacteria adhered to the human mucus. We tested 12 probiotic strains against eight selected pathogens. All strains tested were able to adhere to mucus. All probiotic strains tested were able to inhibit and displace (P<0.05) the adhesion of Bacteroides, Clostridium, Staphylococcus and Enterobacter. In addition, the abilities to inhibit and to displace adhered pathogens depended on both the probiotic and the pathogen strains tested suggesting that several complementary mechanisms are implied in the processes.
Conclusions: Our results indicate the need for a case-by-case assessment in order to select strains with the ability to inhibit or displace a specific pathogen. Probiotics could be useful to correct deviations observed in intestinal microbiota associated with specific diseases and also, to prevent pathogen infections.
Significance and impact of the study: The competitive exclusion properties of probiotics as well as their ability to displace and inhibit pathogens are the most importance for therapeutic manipulation of the enteric microbiota. The application of such strategies could contribute to expand the beneficial properties on human health against pathogen infection.