Characterization of Bifidobacterium spp. strains for the treatment of enteric disorders in newborns

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Dec;96(6):1561-76. doi: 10.1007/s00253-012-4138-5. Epub 2012 May 17.


Several studies support the use of probiotics for the treatment of minor gastrointestinal problems in infants. Positive effects on newborn colics have been evidenced after administration of Lactobacillus strains, whereas no studies have been reported regarding the use of bifidobacteria for this purpose. This work was therefore aimed at the characterization of Bifidobacterium strains capable of inhibiting the growth of pathogens typical of the infant gastrointestinal tract and of coliforms isolated from colic newborns. Among the 46 Bifidobacterium strains considered, 16 showed high antimicrobial activity against potential pathogens; these strains were further characterized from a taxonomic point of view, for the presence and transferability of antibiotic resistances, for citotoxic effects and adhesion to nontumorigenic gut epithelium cell lines. Moreover, their ability to stimulate gut health by increasing the metabolic activity and the immune response of epithelial cells was also studied. The examination of all these features allowed to identify three Bifidobacterium breve strains and a Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum strain as potential probiotics for the treatments of enteric disorders in newborns such as infantile colics. A validation clinical trial involving the selected strains is being planned.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium / genetics
  • Bifidobacterium / isolation & purification
  • Bifidobacterium / physiology*
  • Colic / microbiology
  • Colic / therapy*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / microbiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*