Probiotics are microorganisms that protect from antigenic substances and can in effect act as a substitute for antibiotics. Lactobacillus amylovorus is one such bacterial species.
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are generally categorised as microorganisms that act as defences against microbial infections in the gastrointestinal tract. When taken regularly, these microorganisms can be used as a substitute for antibiotics.
The uses of probiotics:
- Probiotics are beneficial to both humans and animals as they improve immunity and mitigate the incidence of gastrointestinal infections.
- They provide an internal barrier that sequesters the possibility of microbial infections.
- They balance the environment of the gut and play a role in the activation of enzymes, organic acids and bioactive peptides.
- Probiotics also play an important role in the proliferation and colonisation of different microbial strains in the mucosa of the intestine.
An introduction to Lactobacillus amylovorus
- amylovorus is being regarded as a potential candidate for its use as a probiotic. It is used as a fermentation additive and its functioning has been previously studied as it is commonly used for the prevention of bread mildew. It has shown probiotic effects in livestock, but it is yet to be confirmed that it can be safely used as a probiotic. However, it has shown significant effects in the context of weight gain and resistance. Additionally, it is also used as an additive in carbonated drinks to reduce weight gain. The intake of probiotics such as L. amylovorus has resulted in a 3-4% reduction in body fat for 6 weeks in individuals making it a perfect candidate for weight reduction and rectification of obesity.
Powdered L. amylovorus extract
Where can it be found?
Starch degrading bacterial strains such as L. amylovorus are often found in the small intestine of piglets (1-11 weeks post weaning). These bacteria exhibit the ability to adhere themselves to porcine intestinal cells. In pigs, the intestinal flora is varied during the weaning period. If the animals are not injected with antibiotics during this period, they do not develop antibiotic resistance hence promoting the growth of a multitude of microflora.
Piglets are the predominant source of L. amylovorus
Isolation and purification of L. amylovorus from piglets is an easy process that is followed by quality control and in vivo experimentation to confirm the probiotic effect of the bacterial strain in addition to its safe use.
Isolation and culturing of L. amylovorus:
- In the case of L. amylovorus, the bacterial strain is isolated from the faeces of piglets and then stored in the lab.
- The faecal samples are then added to a normal saline solution and oscillated.
- The collected suspension is then serially diluted and then streaked onto a selective medium.
- The bacteria are incubated at room temperature for 18 hours in an MRS broth.
- The isolated bacteria are then viewed via the Gram staining method.
- The colonies should be observed and categorised according to their size, shape, pellucidity and margins.
Observation of Lactobacillus colonies via Gram staining
Characteristics of isolated L. amylovorus
- Morphology of bacterial strain is such that it ranges from 1-2 mm in diameter and has an opaque, milky white appearance with neat margins or edges.
- They are rod-shaped, Gram-positive bacteria.
- Gene amplification of 16s RNA using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and subsequent sequencing shows the presence of approximately 1500 bp.
The study of Lactobacillus amylovorus as a novel probiotic is an ongoing process. Studies have confirmed that this commonly used fermentation additive is also very useful for weight loss as it metabolises starch at an accelerated rate. It has also been found to exhibit the ability to change the body composition and degree of adiposity in humans and can hence be used in the future to curb obesity, increase metabolism and improve immunity.
The only challenge in the use of this bacterial strain as a probiotic is the lack of knowledge in regards to its safe use and any possible side effects.