Bifidobacteria Strain Behavior Toward Cholesterol: Coprecipitation with Bile Salts and Assimilation
Resting cells and growing cells of bifidobacteria strains exhibited an ability to remove cholesterol in the presence of bile salts. In resting cell assays, the removed cholesterol was precipitated in the presence of cholic acid at pH values lower than 5.4. However, this precipitated cholesterol was redissolved when the pellets were washed with phosphate buffer, pH 7, and no cholesterol was found in the cells. It appears that this precipitation is a transient phenomenon. In the case of growing cells, the removed cholesterol was partially recovered when cells were washed with phosphate buffer, pH 7, while the remaining cholesterol was extracted from the cells. Cultured in the presence of radiolabeled free or esterified cholesterol, bifidobacteria strains were able to assimilate esterified cholesterol. It is concluded that the removal of cholesterol from the growth medium by bifidobacteria strains is due to both bacterial assimilation and precipitation of cholesterol.
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