Researchers from Ireland found that treatment with probiotic bacteria reduced Salmonella infection in pigs and may have potential human applications. They report their findings in the March 2007 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Salmonella spp. is one of the major causes of food-borne gastroenteritis worldwide, with an estimated 160,000 cases reported annually in the European Union alone. Probiotics, described as live microorganisms believed to promote a health benefit in the host when administered in controlled amounts, have emerged in recent years as an alternative method to counteract bacterial infections. Previous studies have focused largely on the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) group and many have shown beneficial effects in small animal models challenged with gastrointestinal infection.
In the study pigs were divided into two groups, one of which received milk containing five LAB probiotic strains and the other, serving as a control group, received regular milk for 30 days. Following 6 days of treatment the pigs were then challenged orally with Samonella enterica serovar Typhimurium after which their health and feces were monitored for 23 days. The pigs receiving probiotic treatment showed reduced incidence, severity, and duration of diarrhea as well as significantly lower numbers of Salmonella in fecal samples 15 days postinfection.
“The administered probiotic bacteria improved both the clinical and microbiological outcome of Salmonella infection,” say the researchers. “These strains offer significant benefit for use in the food industry and may have potential in human applications.”
(P.G. Casey, G.E. Gardiner, G. Casey, B. Bradshaw, P.G. Lawlor, P.B. Lynch, F.C. Leonard, C. Stanton, R.P. Ross, G.F. Fitzgerald, C. Hill. 2007. A five-strain probiotic combination reduces pathogen shedding and alleviates disease signs in pigs challenged with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73. 6: 1858-1863.)
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