• Analysis of Health Benefits Conferred by Lactobacillus Species from Kefir

      Cotter, Paul D.; Slattery, Conor; O'Toole, Paul W.; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; APC Microbiome Ireland; Vistamilk; Enterprise Ireland; European Union; 818368 (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
      Lactobacilli are among the most common microorganisms found in kefir; a traditional fermented milk beverage produced locally in many locations around the world. Kefir has been associated with a wide range of purported health benefits; such as antimicrobial activity; cholesterol metabolism; immunomodulation; anti-oxidative effects; anti-diabetic effects; anti-allergenic effects; and tumor suppression. This review critically examines and assesses these claimed benefits and mechanisms with regard to particular Lactobacillus species and/or strains that have been derived from kefir; as well as detailing further potential avenues for experimentation.
    • The Composition of Human Milk and Infant Faecal Microbiota Over the First Three Months of Life: A Pilot Study

      Murphy, Kiera; Curley, David; O’Callaghan, Tom F.; O’Shea, Carol A; Dempsey, Eugene; O'Toole, Paul W.; Ross, R Paul; Ryan, C. Anthony; STANTON, CATHERINE; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Nature, 2017-01-17)
      Human milk contains a diverse array of bioactives and is also a source of bacteria for the developing infant gut. The aim of this study was to characterize the bacterial communities in human milk and infant faeces over the first 3 months of life, in 10 mother-infant pairs. The presence of viable Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in human milk was also evaluated. MiSeq sequencing revealed a large diversity of the human milk microbiota, identifying over 207 bacterial genera in milk samples. The phyla Proteobacteria and Firmicutes and the genera Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus were the predominant bacterial groups. A core of 12 genera represented 81% of the microbiota relative abundance in milk samples at week 1, 3 and 6, decreasing to 73% at week 12. Genera shared between infant faeces and human milk samples accounted for 70–88% of the total relative abundance in infant faecal samples, supporting the hypothesis of vertical transfer of bacteria from milk to the infant gut. In addition, identical strains of Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus plantarum were isolated from the milk and faeces of one mother-infant pair. Vertical transfer of bacteria via breastfeeding may contribute to the initial establishment of the microbiota in the developing infant intestine.
    • The Effect of Feeding Bt MON810 Maize to Pigs for 110 Days on Intestinal Microbiota

      Buzoianu, Stefan G.; Walsh, Maria C.; Rea, Mary; O'Sullivan, Orla; Crispie, Fiona; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Lawlor, Peadar G; European Union; et al. (PLOS, 04/05/2012)
      Objective To assess the effects of feeding Bt MON810 maize to pigs for 110 days on the intestinal microbiota. Methodology/Principal Findings Forty male pigs (~40 days old) were blocked by weight and litter ancestry and assigned to one of four treatments; 1) Isogenic maize-based diet for 110 days (Isogenic); 2) Bt maize-based diet (MON810) for 110 days (Bt); 3) Isogenic maize-based diet for 30 days followed by a Bt maize-based diet for 80 days (Isogenic/Bt); 4) Bt maize-based diet for 30 days followed by an isogenic maize-based diet for 80 days (Bt/Isogenic). Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacillus and total anaerobes were enumerated in the feces using culture-based methods on days 0, 30, 60 and 100 of the study and in ileal and cecal digesta on day 110. No differences were found between treatments for any of these counts at any time point. The relative abundance of cecal bacteria was also determined using high-throughput 16 S rRNA gene sequencing. No differences were observed in any bacterial taxa between treatments, with the exception of the genus Holdemania which was more abundant in the cecum of pigs fed the isogenic/Bt treatment compared to pigs fed the Bt treatment (0.012 vs 0.003%; P≤0.05). Conclusions/Significance Feeding pigs a Bt maize-based diet for 110 days did not affect counts of any of the culturable bacteria enumerated in the feces, ileum or cecum. Neither did it influence the composition of the cecal microbiota, with the exception of a minor increase in the genus Holdemania. As the role of Holdemania in the intestine is still under investigation and no health abnormalities were observed, this change is not likely to be of clinical significance. These results indicate that feeding Bt maize to pigs in the context of its influence on the porcine intestinal microbiota is safe.
    • Reincarnation of Bacteriocins From the Lactobacillus Pangenomic Graveyard

      Collins, Fergus W. J.; Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/227 (Frontiers, 02/07/2018)
      Bacteria commonly produce narrow spectrum bacteriocins as a means of inhibiting closely related species competing for similar resources in an environment. The increasing availability of genomic data means that it is becoming easier to identify bacteriocins encoded within genomes. Often, however, the presence of bacteriocin genes in a strain does not always translate into biological antimicrobial activity. For example, when analysing the Lactobacillus pangenome we identified strains encoding ten pediocin-like bacteriocin structural genes which failed to display inhibitory activity. Nine of these bacteriocins were novel whilst one was identified as the previously characterized bacteriocin “penocin A.” The composition of these bacteriocin operons varied between strains, often with key components missing which are required for bacteriocin production, such as dedicated bacteriocin transporters and accessory proteins. In an effort to functionally express these bacteriocins, the structural genes for the ten pediocin homologs were cloned alongside the dedicated pediocin PA-1 transporter in both Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus paracasei heterologous hosts. Each bacteriocin was cloned with its native leader sequence and as a fusion protein with the pediocin PA-1 leader sequence. Several of these bacteriocins displayed a broader spectrum of inhibition than the original pediocin PA-1. We show how potentially valuable bacteriocins can easily be “reincarnated” from in silico data and produced in vitro despite often lacking the necessary accompanying machinery. Moreover, the study demonstrates how genomic datasets such as the Lactobacilus pangenome harbor a potential “arsenal” of antimicrobial activity with the possibility of being activated when expressed in more genetically amenable hosts.
    • Reincarnation of Bacteriocins From the Lactobacillus Pangenomic Graveyard

      Collins, Fergus W. J.; Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/227 (Frontiers, 2018-07-02)
      Bacteria commonly produce narrow spectrum bacteriocins as a means of inhibiting closely related species competing for similar resources in an environment. The increasing availability of genomic data means that it is becoming easier to identify bacteriocins encoded within genomes. Often, however, the presence of bacteriocin genes in a strain does not always translate into biological antimicrobial activity. For example, when analysing the Lactobacillus pangenome we identified strains encoding ten pediocin-like bacteriocin structural genes which failed to display inhibitory activity. Nine of these bacteriocins were novel whilst one was identified as the previously characterized bacteriocin “penocin A.” The composition of these bacteriocin operons varied between strains, often with key components missing which are required for bacteriocin production, such as dedicated bacteriocin transporters and accessory proteins. In an effort to functionally express these bacteriocins, the structural genes for the ten pediocin homologs were cloned alongside the dedicated pediocin PA-1 transporter in both Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus paracasei heterologous hosts. Each bacteriocin was cloned with its native leader sequence and as a fusion protein with the pediocin PA-1 leader sequence. Several of these bacteriocins displayed a broader spectrum of inhibition than the original pediocin PA-1. We show how potentially valuable bacteriocins can easily be “reincarnated” from in silico data and produced in vitro despite often lacking the necessary accompanying machinery. Moreover, the study demonstrates how genomic datasets such as the Lactobacilus pangenome harbor a potential “arsenal” of antimicrobial activity with the possibility of being activated when expressed in more genetically amenable hosts.
    • Strains of the Lactobacillus casei group show diverse abilities for the production of flavor compounds in 2 model systems

      Stefanovic, Ewelina; Thierry, Anne; Maillard, Marie-Bernadette; Bertuzzi, Andrea; Rea, Mary; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; McAuliffe, Olivia; Kilcawley, Kieran; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2017-07-12)
      Cheese flavor development is directly connected to the metabolic activity of microorganisms used during its manufacture, and the selection of metabolically diverse strains represents a potential tool for the production of cheese with novel and distinct flavor characteristics. Strains of Lactobacillus have been proven to promote the development of important cheese flavor compounds. As cheese production and ripening are long-lasting and expensive, model systems have been developed with the purpose of rapidly screening lactic acid bacteria for their flavor potential. The biodiversity of 10 strains of the Lactobacillus casei group was evaluated in 2 model systems and their volatile profiles were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In model system 1, which represented a mixture of free AA, inoculated cells did not grow. In total, 66 compounds considered as flavor contributors were successfully identified, most of which were aldehydes, acids, and alcohols produced via AA metabolism by selected strains. Three strains (DPC2071, DPC3990, and DPC4206) had the most diverse metabolic capacities in model system 1. In model system 2, which was based on processed cheese curd, inoculated cells increased in numbers over incubation time. A total of 47 compounds were identified, and they originated not only from proteolysis, but also from glycolytic and lipolytic processes. Tested strains produced ketones, acids, and esters. Although strains produced different abundances of volatiles, diversity was less evident in model system 2, and only one strain (DPC4206) was distinguished from the others. Strains identified as the most dissimilar in both of the model systems could be more useful for cheese flavor diversification.