Microbiological quality and characteristics of probiotic products in China

Authors

  • Tingtao Chen,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
    2. Penn Ovarian Cancer Research Center, Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health (CRRWH), Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
    3. Institute of Translational Medicine, Nanchang University, People's Republic of China, Honggu District, Nanchang, China
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  • Qinglong Wu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
    2. Food and Nutritional Science, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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  • Shengjie Li,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
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  • Shunqiang Xiong,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
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  • Shuying Jiang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
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  • Qianglai Tan,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
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  • Zhichao Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
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  • Daochen Zhu,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of the Environment, Jiangsu University, Jiangsu, China
    • Correspondence to: Hua Wei, State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, 330047, China. E-mail: weihua114@live.cn; Daochen Zhu, School of the Environment, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu 212013, China. E-mail: dczhucn@hotmail.com

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  • Hua Wei

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China
    • Correspondence to: Hua Wei, State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, 330047, China. E-mail: weihua114@live.cn; Daochen Zhu, School of the Environment, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu 212013, China. E-mail: dczhucn@hotmail.com

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Probiotics are widely used in the food industry and medicine fields in China, but few studies have been conducted to evaluate the actual microbial amounts and species in probiotic products, which may conflict with the labels and mislead consumers to choose inappropriate foods or medicines.

RESULTS

Twenty commercial dairy products and eight commercial ‘healthcare’ samples were collected from markets in China and tested using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. The results suggested that the total bacterial counts of most commercial products met the minimum quantitative requirement of the Chinese national standard (6.00 log colony-forming units g−1). However, the bacterial counts of specific species were inconsistent with the labelling. In parallel, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis indicated that some probiotic-containing products were wrongly labelled; no Bifidobacterium species were detected in the products claiming to contain bifidobacteria, and the probiotic characteristics (antimicrobial activity, acid resistance and bile resistance) of some isolates had degraded. Moreover, some contaminating bacteria, e.g. Enterobacter sp., Klebsiella sp. and Serratia sp., were also detected in these products.

CONCLUSION

The combination of culture-dependent and culture-independent methods was proven to quickly and conveniently detect the microbial diversity in probiotic products, and more effort is required to regulate the probiotic market in China. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry

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