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Keywords:

  • active food carrier;
  • bacterial antagonism;
  • crossover;
  • faecal enzyme activity;
  • Shannon diversity index;
  • short-chain fatty acids

Abstract

Aims:  To evaluate the positive influence of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei LMGP22043 carried by artichokes into the human gut with special reference to faecal bacterial balance, short-chain fatty acid concentrations and enzyme activities in a randomized, double-blind human trial in comparison with probiotic-free artichokes (control).

Methods:  Twenty subjects were randomized into two groups, which consumed daily 180 g of the artichoke product (probiotic or control) during two 15-day study periods (periods 1 and 2) separated by a 15-day washout in a crossover manner. Faecal samples were subjected to microbiological and biochemical analyses, and a strain-specific PCR was performed to monitor the probiotic strain.

Results:  The probiotic strain, transported by the vegetable matrix, transiently colonized the gut of 17/20 subjects (median 6·87 log CFU g−1 faeces), antagonized Escherichia coli and Clostridium spp. and increased the genetic diversity of lactic population based on REP-PCR profiles, mainly after period 1.

Conclusions:  The probiotic L. paracasei LMGP22043 successfully colonized the human gut and positively influenced faecal bacteria and biochemical parameters.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  The association of the probiotic L. paracasei with a food carrier rich in fibre can represent a new strategy for favouring a daily supply of probiotics and attracting more consumers to vegetable food fortified with probiotic strains.