• Enhancing the stress responses of probiotics for a lifestyle from gut to product and back again

      Mills, Susan; STANTON, CATHERINE; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Ross, R Paul (Biomed Central, 30/08/2011)
      Before a probiotic bacterium can even begin to fulfill its biological role, it must survive a battery of environmental stresses imposed during food processing and passage through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Food processing stresses include extremes in temperature, as well as osmotic, oxidative and food matrix stresses. Passage through the GIT is a hazardous journey for any bacteria with deleterious lows in pH encountered in the stomach to the detergent-like properties of bile in the duodenum. However, bacteria are equipped with an array of defense mechanisms to counteract intracellular damage or to enhance the robustness of the cell to withstand lethal external environments. Understanding these mechanisms in probiotic bacteria and indeed other bacterial groups has resulted in the development of a molecular toolbox to augment the technological and gastrointestinal performance of probiotics. This has been greatly aided by studies which examine the global cellular responses to stress highlighting distinct regulatory networks and which also identify novel mechanisms used by cells to cope with hazardous environments. This review highlights the latest studies which have exploited the bacterial stress response with a view to producing next-generation probiotic cultures and highlights the significance of studies which view the global bacterial stress response from an integrative systems biology perspective.
    • Inhibitory activity of Lactobacillus plantarum LMG P-26358 against Listeria innocua when used as an adjunct starter in the manufacture of cheese

      Mills, Susan; Serrano, L Mariela; Griffin, Carmel; O'Connor, Paula M.; Schaad, Gwenda; Bruining, Chris; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Meijer, Wilco C (Biomed Central, 30/08/2011)
      Lactobacillus plantarum LMG P-26358 isolated from a soft French artisanal cheese produces a potent class IIa bacteriocin with 100% homology to plantaricin 423 and bacteriocidal activity against Listeria innocua and Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteriocin was found to be highly stable at temperatures as high as 100°C and pH ranges from 1-10. While this relatively narrow spectrum bacteriocin also exhibited antimicrobial activity against species of enterococci, it did not inhibit dairy starters including lactococci and lactobacilli when tested by well diffusion assay (WDA). In order to test the suitability of Lb. plantarum LMG P-26358 as an anti-listerial adjunct with nisin-producing lactococci, laboratory-scale cheeses were manufactured. Results indicated that combining Lb. plantarum LMG P-26358 (at 108 colony forming units (cfu)/ml) with a nisin producer is an effective strategy to eliminate the biological indicator strain, L. innocua. Moreover, industrial-scale cheeses also demonstrated that Lb. plantarum LMG P-26358 was much more effective than the nisin producer alone for protection against the indicator. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry confirmed the presence of plantaricin 423 and nisin in the appropriate cheeses over an 18 week ripening period. A spray-dried fermentate of Lb. plantarum LMG P-26358 also demonstrated potent anti-listerial activity in vitro using L. innocua. Overall, the results suggest that Lb. plantarum LMG P-26358 is a suitable adjunct for use with nisin-producing cultures to improve the safety and quality of dairy products.
    • Precision Nutrition and the Microbiome, Part I: Current State of the Science

      Mills, Susan; Stanton, Catherine; Lane, Jonathan; Smith, Graeme; Ross, R. (MDPI AG, 2019-04-24)
      The gut microbiota is a highly complex community which evolves and adapts to its host over a lifetime. It has been described as a virtual organ owing to the myriad of functions it performs, including the production of bioactive metabolites, regulation of immunity, energy homeostasis and protection against pathogens. These activities are dependent on the quantity and quality of the microbiota alongside its metabolic potential, which are dictated by a number of factors, including diet and host genetics. In this regard, the gut microbiome is malleable and varies significantly from host to host. These two features render the gut microbiome a candidate ‘organ’ for the possibility of precision microbiomics—the use of the gut microbiome as a biomarker to predict responsiveness to specific dietary constituents to generate precision diets and interventions for optimal health. With this in mind, this two-part review investigates the current state of the science in terms of the influence of diet and specific dietary components on the gut microbiota and subsequent consequences for health status, along with opportunities to modulate the microbiota for improved health and the potential of the microbiome as a biomarker to predict responsiveness to dietary components. In particular, in Part I, we examine the development of the microbiota from birth and its role in health. We investigate the consequences of poor-quality diet in relation to infection and inflammation and discuss diet-derived microbial metabolites which negatively impact health. We look at the role of diet in shaping the microbiome and the influence of specific dietary components, namely protein, fat and carbohydrates, on gut microbiota composition.
    • Viromes of one year old infants reveal the impact of birth mode on microbiome diversity

      McCann, Angela; Ryan, Feargal J.; Stockdale, Stephen R.; Dalmasso, Marion; Blake, Tony; Ryan, C. Anthony; STANTON, CATHERINE; Mills, Susan; Ross, Paul R.; Hill, Colin; et al. (PeerJ, 2018-05-07)
      Establishing a diverse gut microbiota after birth is being increasingly recognised as important for preventing illnesses later in life. It is well established that bacterial diversity rapidly increases post-partum; however, few studies have examined the infant gut virome/phageome during this developmental period. We performed a metagenomic analysis of 20 infant faecal viromes at one year of age to determine whether spontaneous vaginal delivery (SVD) or caesarean section (CS) influenced viral composition. We find that birth mode results in distinctly different viral communities, with SVD infants having greater viral and bacteriophage diversity. We demonstrate that CrAssphage is acquired early in life, both in this cohort and two others, although no difference in birth mode is detected. A previous study has shown that bacterial OTU’s (operational taxonomic units) identified in the same infants could not discriminate between birth mode at 12 months of age. Therefore, our results indicate that vertical transmission of viral communities from mother to child may play a role in shaping the early life microbiome, and that birth mode should be considered when studying the early life gut virome.