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Keywords:

  • human gastrointestinal tract;
  • lactobacilli;
  • probiotics;
  • subtractive screening

ABSTRACT:  In the search for new probiotics, 61 Lactobacillus spp. isolates, belonging to 12 species and isolated as dominant lactic acid bacteria from the feces of healthy humans, were subjected to a subtractive system of in vitro analyses, which included desirable and undesirable traits. Twenty-four isolates were able to grow in 2% bovine bile, of which 13 grew in acidified broth at pH 3.5 in acidified cysteine-containing MRS broth. Intrinsic resistance to certain antimicrobial agents (cefoxitin, metronidazole, vancomycin) was observed in most isolates, but atypical resistances to erythromycin, clindamycin, or tetracycline were also found in 5 strains. Undesirable traits such as α-chymotrypsin or N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase activities were not detected, but low β-glucuronidase and moderate β-glucosidase activities were recorded in 2 strains. Two Lactobacillus gasseri and 2 Lactobacillus paracasei selected strains inhibited several intestinal pathogens in an agar spot test, including strains of Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus. They also adhered to human Caco-2 and HT-29 epithelial cells in a manner comparable to Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG, and were unable to degrade pig gastric mucin in a plate assay. Together, these results suggest these 4 strains to be good probiotic candidates, concluding that the subtractive screening devised in this work could be a valuable tool in large-scale surveys for probiotics.