Probiotics as a biological detoxification tool of food chemical contamination: A review

Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Jul:153:112306. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2021.112306. Epub 2021 May 28.


Nowadays, people are exposed to diverse environmental and chemical pollutants produced by industry and agriculture. Food contaminations such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals, and mycotoxins are a serious concern for global food safety with economic and public health implications especially in the newly industrialized countries (NIC). Mounting evidence indicates that chronic exposure to food contaminants referred to as xenobiotics exert a negative effect on human health such as inflammation, oxidative stress, and intestinal disorders linked with perturbation of the composition and metabolic profile of the gut microflora. Although the physicochemical technologies for food decontamination are utilized in many cases but require adequate conditions which are often not feasible to be met in many industrial sectors. At present, one promising approach to reduce the risk related to the presence of xenobiotics in foodstuffs is a biological detoxification done by probiotic strains and their enzymes. Many studies confirmed that probiotics are an effective, feasible, and inexpensive tool for preventing xenobiotic-induced dysbiosis and alleviating their toxicity. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge of the direct mechanisms by which probiotics can influence the detoxification of xenobiotics. Moreover, probiotic-xenobiotic interactions with the gut microbiota and the host response were also discussed.

Keywords: Food contaminants; Gut microbiota; Probiotic-xenobiotic-host axis; Probiotics; Xenobiotic metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dysbiosis / chemically induced
  • Dysbiosis / diet therapy
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / metabolism*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism*
  • Xenobiotics / toxicity


  • Xenobiotics