A sensitive method for qualitative screening of bile salt hydrolase-active lactobacilli based on thin-layer chromatography.
ABSTRACT A sensitive protocol based on thin-layer chromatography (TLC) was developed to screen qualitatively bile salt hydrolase (BSH)-active lactobacilli. The sodium salts of glycocholic acid and taurocholic acid were used as substrates, and bacterial BSH activity was confirmed by detecting cholic acid as a product of the bile conjugates using a TLC assay with direct visual observation. Forty-five lactobacilli isolated from human fecal samples were tested for BSH activity by the TLC assay, a conventional plate assay, and a quantitative colorimetric assay. With the TLC and quantitative colorimetric assays, the same 24 BSH-positive strains were detected. No false-positive or false-negative results were detected by the TLC assay. However, only 20 BSH-positive strains were detected with the conventional plate assay. Compared with the conventional plate assay, the TLC assay is more sensitive for the detection of BSH activity of lactobacilli and, thus, more suitable for screening of BSH-active lactobacilli of human origin.