Aims: To evaluate the positive influence of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei LMGP22043 carried by artichokes into the human gut with special reference to faecal bacterial balance, short-chain fatty acid concentrations and enzyme activities in a randomized, double-blind human trial in comparison with probiotic-free artichokes (control).
Methods: Twenty subjects were randomized into two groups, which consumed daily 180 g of the artichoke product (probiotic or control) during two 15-day study periods (periods 1 and 2) separated by a 15-day washout in a crossover manner. Faecal samples were subjected to microbiological and biochemical analyses, and a strain-specific PCR was performed to monitor the probiotic strain.
Results: The probiotic strain, transported by the vegetable matrix, transiently colonized the gut of 17/20 subjects (median 6·87 log CFU g⁻¹ faeces), antagonized Escherichia coli and Clostridium spp. and increased the genetic diversity of lactic population based on REP-PCR profiles, mainly after period 1.
Conclusions: The probiotic L. paracasei LMGP22043 successfully colonized the human gut and positively influenced faecal bacteria and biochemical parameters.
Significance and impact of the study: The association of the probiotic L. paracasei with a food carrier rich in fibre can represent a new strategy for favouring a daily supply of probiotics and attracting more consumers to vegetable food fortified with probiotic strains.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2011 The Society for Applied Microbiology.