Bacteria with guts

In this week’s show, Beth discussed a recently published study on how probiotics, the “good bacteria” in your gut, help with digestion, boost the immune system and possibly reduce the risk of cancer: Fukuda S, Toh H, Hase K, Oshima K, Nakanishi Y, Yoshimura K, Tobe T, Clarke JM, Topping DL, Suzuki T, Taylor TD, Itoh K, Kikuchi J, Morita H, Hattori M & Ohno H 2011,”Bifidobacteria can protect from enteropathogenic infection through production of acetate”, Nature, vol. 469, no. 7331, pp. 543-547.

Gram staining of Bifidobacterium adolescentis (click to embiggen)
Bifidobacterium adolescentis (Gram staining by Y tambe , via Wikimedia Commons)
This study was a collaboration between Japanese researchers and Australian scientists from the CSIRO. The paper’s Australian co-author, Dr David Topping from CSIRO Food Futures and Preventative Health Flagships, said of the research:

“While protection was shown with probiotic Bifidobacteria, the study showed also that a CSIRO technology being developed in Preventative Health Flagship was also highly effective. This product is a modified starch which delivers specific SCFA to the large bowel and the data confirm that acetic acid was critical for survival of infected animals. The studies offer promise for the development of more effective prebiotic and probiotic foods to assist in infection control.

For more on this study, read the story at ABC Science.

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