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Effect of Conjugated Bile Salts on Antibiotic Susceptibility of Bile Salt–Tolerant Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium Isolates

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Virtually every antibiotic may cause in vivo alterations in the number, level, and composition of the indigenous microbiotae. The degree to which the microbiotae are disturbed depends on many factors. Although bile may augment antibiotic activity, studies on the effect of bile on the antibiotic susceptibility of indigenous and exogenous probiotic microorganisms are lacking. It was against this background that the antibiotic susceptibility of 37 bile salt–tolerant Lactobacillus and 11 Bifidobacterium isolates from human and other sources was determined in the presence of 0.5% wt/wt oxgall (conjugated bile salts). Oxgall did not affect the intrinsic resistance of lactobacilli to metronidazole (5 μg), vancomycin (30 μg), and cotrimoxazole (25 μg), whereas it resulted in a complete loss of resistance to polymyxin B (300 μg) and the aminoglycosides gentamicin (10 μg), kanamycin (30 μg), and streptomycin (10 μg) for most strains studied (P < 0.001). Oxgall did not affect the intrinsic resistance of bifidobacteria to metronidazole and vancomycin, whereas polymyxin B and co-trimoxazole resistance was diminished (P < 0.05) and aminoglycoside resistance was lost (P < 0.001). Seven lactobacilli, but no bifidobacteria strain, showed unaltered intrinsic antibiotic resistance profiles in the presence of oxgall. Oxgall affected the extrinsic susceptibility of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria to penicillin G (10 μg), ampicillin (10 μg), tetracycline (30 μg), chloramphenicol (30 μg), erythromycin (15 μg), and rifampicin (5 μg) in a source- and strain-dependent manner. Human strain–drug combinations of lactobacilli (P < 0.05) and bifidobacteria (P < 0.01) were more likely to show no change or decreased susceptibility compared with other strain-drug combinations. The antimicrobial activity spectra of polymyxin B and the aminoglycosides should not be considered limited to gram-negative bacteria but extended to include gram-positive genera of the indigenous and transiting microbiotae in the presence of conjugated bile salts. Those lactobacilli (7 of 37) that show unaltered intrinsic and diminished extrinsic antibiotic susceptibility in the presence of oxgall may possess greater upper gastrointestinal tract transit tolerance in the presence of antibiotics.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: SET Consultants Ltd., Douglas, Cork, Ireland 2: National Dairy Products Research Centre, Moorepark, Cork, Ireland 3: Instituto di Microbiologia, Universita Cattolica del Sacre Coure, Piacenza, Italy 4: Microbiology Department, University College, Cork, Ireland

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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