In advancing age, gut populations of beneficial microbes, notably Bifidobacterium spp., show a marked decline. This contributes to an environment less capable of maintaining homoeostasis. This in vitro investigation studied the possible synergistic effects of probiotic supplementation in modulating the gut microbiota enabling prebiotic therapy to in elderly persons. Single stage batch culture anaerobic fermenters were used and inoculated with fecal microbiota obtained from volunteers after taking a 28 day treatment of Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 (GanedenBC30 (BC30)) or a placebo. The response to prebiotic supplements fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) in the fermenters was assessed. Bacterial enumeration was carried out using fluorescent in situ hybridisation and organic acids measured by gas chromatography. Baseline populations of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium lituseburense and Bacillus spp. were significantly higher in those having consumed BC30 compared to the placebo. Both prebiotics increased populations of several purportedly beneficial bacterial groups in both sets of volunteers. Samples from volunteers having ingested the BC30 also increased populations of C. lituseburense, Eubacterium rectale and F. prausnitzii more so than in persons who had consumed the placebo, this also resulted in significantly higher concentrations of butyrate, acetate and propionate. This shows that consumption of BC30 and subsequent use of prebiotics resulted in elevated populations of beneficial genres of bacteria as well as organic acid production.
Keywords: Bacillus coagulans; Batch culture fermentation; Fructooligosaccharides; Galactooligosaccharides; Probiotic; Synbiotic.
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