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Specific properties of probiotic strains: relevance and benefits for the host



Probiotics have tremendous potential to develop healthy diets, treatment, and prevention. Investigation of in vitro cultural properties of health-promoting microorganisms like lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria is crucial to select probiotic strains for treatments based on gut microbiota modulation to justify individualized and personalized approach for nutrition and prevention of variety of diseases. The aim was to study the biological properties of LAB and bifidobacteria probiotic strains, namely adhesive properties; resistance to antibiotics; and biological fluids (gastric juice, bile, pancreatic enzymes), and to overview the literature in the field.

Materials and methods

We studied six LAB strains (Lactobacillus acidophilus ІМV В-7279, L. casei ІМV В-7280, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus ІМV В-7281, L. rhamnosus LB-3 VK6, L. delbrueckii LE VK8, L. plantarum LM VK7), and two bifidobacteria strains (Bifidobacterium animalis VKL, B. animalis VKB). We characterized tinctorial, culturally morphological, physiological, and biochemical properties of probiotic strains of LAB and bifidobacteria by commonly used research methods. Determination of the resistance to antibiotics was carried out using disc-diffusion method. The effects of gastric juice, bile, and pancreatin on the viability of LAB and bifidobacteria were evaluated. Adhesive properties of LAB and bifidobacteria to epithelial cells were assessed calculating three indicators: average adhesion rate (AAR), participation rate of epithelial cells (PRE), and adhesiveness index of microorganisms (AIM). Electron microscopy of LAB and bifidobacteria cells was conducted.


The studied strains of LAB and bifidobacteria did not form spores, were positively stained by Gram, grow on medium in a wide range of pH (1.0–9.0, optimum pH 5.5–6.5), were sensitive to a wide range of antibiotics; and showed different resistance to gastric juice, bile, and pancreatic enzymes. The most resistant to antibiotics were L. rhamnosus LB-3 VK6 and L. delbrueckii LE VK8 strains. The most susceptible to gastric juice was L. plantarum LM VK7, which stopped its growth at 8% of gastric juice; L. acidophilus IMV B-7279, B. animalis VKL, and B. animalis VKB strains were resistant even in the 100% concentration. Strains L. acidophilus IMV В-7279, L. casei IMV В-7280, B. animalis VKL, B. animalis VKB, L. rhamnosus LB-3 VK6, L. delbrueckii LE VK8, and L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV В-7281 were resistant to pancreatic enzymes. Adhesive properties of the strains according to AIM index were high in L. casei IMV В-7280, B. animalis VKL, and B. animalis VKB; were moderate in L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV В-7281; and were low in L. acidophilus IMV В-7279, L. rhamnosus LB-3 VK6, L. delbrueckii LE VK8, and L. plantarum LM VK7.


We recognized strain-dependent properties of studied LAB and bifidobacteria probiotic strains (adhesive ability, resistance to antibiotics, and gut biological fluids) and discussed potential for most effective individualized treatment for gut and distant sites microbiome modulation.

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The study was conducted with the support of the State Agency on Science, Innovations, and Informatization of Ukraine.

Authors’ contributions

RVB suggested the idea and design of the study, participated in experiments, did the study analysis, prepared discussion, formulated future outlooks, and performed article drafting. LML and LPB prepared the first draft of manuscript, did the literature analysis, interpreted the results, and performed the statistical analysis. LPB and LML, performed the experiments on animals and participated analysis of the study. VVM performed the experiments. MYS did the organization, revision manuscript, and data interpretation, and contributed to the overall development of the studied topic. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rostyslav V. Bubnov.

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Bubnov, R.V., Babenko, L.P., Lazarenko, L.M. et al. Specific properties of probiotic strains: relevance and benefits for the host. EPMA Journal 9, 205–223 (2018).

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  • Predictive preventive personalized medicine
  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium
  • Probiotics
  • Gut microbiota
  • Antibiotics
  • Gastric juice
  • Bile
  • Pancreatic enzymes
  • Adhesive properties
  • Pili
  • Patient phenotype
  • Individualized medicine