Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 459–465 | Cite as

Lack of Heterogeneity in Bacteriocin Production Across a Selection of Commercial Probiotic Products

  • J. W. Hegarty
  • C. M. Guinane
  • R. P. Ross
  • C. Hill
  • P. D. CotterEmail author


Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. Bacteriocin production has often been mooted as a desirable probiotic trait and, in specific cases, has been shown to promote probiotic survival within the gastrointestinal tract, contribute to the control of pathogens and even influence host gene expression in the gut. However, it is not clear what proportion of probiotic strains routinely found in commercial products produces bacteriocins, and additionally, it is not known which bacteriocins are produced most frequently. To address this, we conducted a culture-based assessment of the bacteriocinogenic ability of bacterial strains found in a variety of commercially available probiotic products. We detected eight bacteriocin-producing isolates from 16 tested products. Interestingly, in all cases, the isolates were Lactobacillus acidophilus, and the bacteriocin produced was identified as the narrow spectrum class II bacteriocin, lactacin B. The apparent absence of other bacteriocin-producing strains from across these products suggests a lack of heterogeneity in bacteriocin production within probiotic products and suggests that bacteriocin production is not being optimally harnessed as a probiotic trait.


Probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus Bacteriocin Lactacin B 



This work was funded by a SFI award “Obesibiotics” (11/P1/1137) to PDC. The authors thank Brian Healy for technical assistance with PFGE and Clare Piper and Angele Lecouillard for assistance with screening.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Statement

No ethical approval was required for this study. All products were commercially available.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Hegarty
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. M. Guinane
    • 1
  • R. P. Ross
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. Hill
    • 2
    • 3
  • P. D. Cotter
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Teagasc Food Research CentreFermoyIreland
  2. 2.School of MicrobiologyUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  3. 3.APC Microbiome InstituteUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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