Staying alive: growth and survival of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis under in vitro and in vivo conditions

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Dec;102(24):10645-10663. doi: 10.1007/s00253-018-9413-7. Epub 2018 Oct 10.


Members of the Bifidobacterium genus are widely used as probiotics in fermented milk products. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis CNCM I-4602 grows and survives poorly in reconstituted skimmed milk (RSM). Availing of genome and transcriptome information, this poor growth and survival phenotype in milk was substantially improved by the addition of certain compounds, such as yeast extract, uric acid, glutathione, cysteine, ferrous sulfate, and a combination of magnesium sulfate and manganese sulfate. Carbohydrate utilization of CNCM I-4602 was also investigated, allowing the identification of several carbohydrate utilization gene clusters, and highlighting this strain's inability to utilize lactose, unlike the type strain of this subspecies, B. animalis subsp. animalis ATCC25527 and the B. animalis subsp. lactis subspecies. In addition, the ability of B. animalis subsp. animalis CNCM I-4602 to colonize a murine model was investigated, which showed that this strain persists in the murine gut for a period of at least 4 weeks. Associated in vivo transcriptome analysis revealed that, among other genes, a gene cluster encoding a predicted type IVb tight adherence (Tad) pilus was upregulated, indicating that this extracellular structure plays a role in the colonization/adaptation of the murine gastrointestinal tract by this strain.

Keywords: Bifidobacteria; Gastrointestinal tract; Genome sequencing; Probiotic; Reconstituted skimmed milk; Transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bifidobacterium animalis / drug effects
  • Bifidobacterium animalis / genetics*
  • Bifidobacterium animalis / growth & development*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • Food Microbiology / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Probiotics