Propionibacteria used as probiotics - A review
The investigation of probiotics has been very intensive during the last decades, concentrating mainly on lactic acid and bifidobacteria. But there is also clear evidence that propionibacteria have probiotic effects. The probiotic influence is based on the production of propionic acid, bacteriocins, vitamin B12, better exploitation of fodder, growth stimulation of other beneficial bacteria and the ability to stay alive during gastric digestion. In Finland, large test series with piglets receiving Propionibacterium freudenreichii in their fodder have been performed. The growth promotant effect was significant and the fodder demand was clearly lower when compared with the control group. The bacterial concentration used was, on average, 2 × 109 cfu/g and the dose/animal 1-5 g/d. The mineral and trace element contents of a Propionibacterium freudenreichii-mass have also been studied. In other European countries, mixtures of propionibacteria and lactic acid/bifidobacteria have been used with positive results as probiotics for calves. Propionibacteria have also been investigated as human probiotics, especially in curing intestinal disorders of children and elderly people. The occurrence of lactic acid bacteria and propionibacteria in living food is very interesting as different kinds of this food type obviously act as probiotics. Thus, propionibacteria can be considered as potential probiotics requiring further research.
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