Interaction of probiotics and pathogens--benefits to human health?

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2010 Apr;21(2):157-67. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.03.016. Epub 2010 Apr 21.


The probiotic terminology has matured over the years and currently a unified definition has been formed. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria have been reported to remove heavy metals, cyanotoxins and mycotoxins from aqueous solutions. The binding processes appear to be species and strain specific. The most efficient microbial species and strains in the removal of these compounds vary between components tested. However, it is of interest to note that most strains characterized until now do not bind positive components or nutrients in the diet. This has significant implications to future detoxification biotechnology development. In a similar manner, lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria interact directly with viruses and pathogens in food and water as well as toxin producing microbes and some toxins. This review updates information and aims to characterize these interactions in association. The target is to understand probiotic health effects and to relate the mechanisms and actions to future potential of specific probiotic bacteria on decontamination of foods and water, and diets. The same aim is targeted in characterizing the role of probiotics in inactivating pathogens and viruses of health importance to facilitate the establishment of novel means of disease risk reduction related health benefits.

MeSH terms

  • Food Microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Probiotics*