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Probiotic Lactobacilli Interfere with Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Formation In Vitro

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In clinical studies, probiotic bacteria have decreased the counts of salivary mutans streptococci (MS). We compared the effects of probiotic Lactobacillus strains on the biofilm formation of Streptococcus mutans. The bacterial strains used included four S. mutans strains (reference strains NCTC 10449 and Ingbritt and clinical isolates 2366 and 195) and probiotic strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. plantarum 299v, and L. reuteri strains PTA 5289 and SD2112. The ability of MS to adhere and grow on a glass surface, reflecting biofilm formation, was studied in the presence of the lactobacilli (LB). The effect of LB culture supernatants on the viability of the MS was studied as well. All of the LB inhibited the biofilm formation of the clinical isolates of MS (P < 0.001). The biofilm formation of the reference strains of MS was also inhibited by the LB, but L. plantarum and L. reuteri PTA 5289 showed a weaker inhibition when compared to L. reuteri SD2112 and L. rhamnosus GG. Viable S. mutans cells could be detected in the biofilms and culture media only when the experiments were performed with the L. reuteri strains. The L. reuteri strains were less efficient in killing the MS also in the tests performed with the culture supernatants. The pHs of the supernatants of L. reuteri were higher compared to those of L. rhamnosus GG and L. plantarum; P < 0.001. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that four commonly used probiotics interfered with S. mutans biofilm formation in vitro, and that the antimicrobial activity against S. mutans was pH-dependent.

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The excellent technical assistance of biomedical research technician Oona Hällfors is gratefully acknowledged. Drs Arthur Ouwehand and Anders Zachrisson are acknowledged for providing Dr. Haukioja with the probiotic strains.

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Correspondence to Eva M. Söderling.

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Söderling, E.M., Marttinen, A.M. & Haukioja, A.L. Probiotic Lactobacilli Interfere with Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Formation In Vitro. Curr Microbiol 62, 618–622 (2011).

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