Assessment of Potential Probiotic Properties

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Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer a health benefit to the host when administered in adequate amounts. Particularly, strains belonging to Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, which are the predominant and subdominant groups of the gastrointestinal microbiota, respectively, are the most widely used probiotic bacteria. Auto-aggregation, co-aggregation, and surface hydrophobicity are characteristics that provide potential advantages for microbial colonization of the gut. Auto-aggregation is a desirable property of probiotics, which is associated with enhanced colonization and inhibition of pathogenic infections and immune regulation of the intestinal mucosa.

Desirable selection criteria for potential probiotic micro-organisms.Fig.1 Desirable selection criteria for potential probiotic micro-organisms. (Anandharaj, 2017)

Mechanisms of Action of Probiotics

  • Enhancement of the Epithelial Barrier

Enhanced expression of genes involved in the tight junction signaling pathway may be a mechanism to enhance the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Using probiotics, the prevention of cytokine-induced epithelial damage, which is characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease, may also contribute to the reinforcement of the mucosal barrier.

  • Increased Adhesion to Intestinal Mucosa

Adherence to the intestinal mucosa is considered a prerequisite for colonization and is important for the interaction of probiotic strains with the host. Probiotics also cause changes in intestinal mucins that prevent pathogen binding.

  • Competitive Exclusion of Pathogenic Microorganisms

Specific adhesiveness properties due to the interaction between surface proteins and mucins may inhibit the colonization of pathogenic bacteria and are a result of antagonistic activity by some strains of probiotics against the adhesion of gastrointestinal pathogens.

  • Production of Antimicrobial Substances

Organic acids have been considered the main antimicrobial compounds responsible for the inhibitory activity of probiotics against pathogens.

  • Modulation of the Immune System

Probiotic bacteria can exert an immunomodulatory effect. These bacteria can interact with epithelial and dendritic cells (DCS) as well as monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes.

Potential Probiotic Properties Assays at Creative Biolabs

The capability of bacteria to form cellular aggregates via auto-aggregation (aggregation of bacteria of the same strain) or co-aggregation (aggregation of bacteria of genetically different strains) can also contribute to persistence in the intestine. In addition, aggregation can antagonize potentially pathogenic microorganisms.

Hydrophobicity is one of the important properties that facilitate initial contact between bacteria and host cells. Hydrophobicity examination can be regarded as a pre-test of the adhesion ability of probiotics to epithelial cells.

To confer health benefits to the host, probiotics need to reach the gut through harsh GI conditions such as low pH, pepsin, bile, and proteolytic enzymes. To survive and colonize the GI tract, bacteria should exhibit high tolerance to acidic media and bile and should be able to adhere to the intestinal surface.

Creative Biolabs provides a wide range of high-quality customized services to the probiotics research field. You can always contact us to find out how we can provide you with reliable and professional tools to support and accelerate your research. Our expertise is accomplished by a team of strategic consultants and technical consultants who provide the right support and expertise for each different stage of our project development.


  1. Anandharaj, M.; et al. Production of high-quality probiotics by fermentation. Microbial Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals. 2017: 235-266.

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