Special Issue "Safety Aspects of Lactic Acid Bacteria"

A special issue of Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Franca Rossi

Istituto Zooprofilattico dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "G. Caporale", Teramo, Italy; Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Universita degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: food safety; food microbiology, microbial genetics and physiology, gene cloning, antibiotic resistance, foodborne pathogens, bacteriocins, food microbial ecology, fermentation and ripening, gene expression

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are low G+C Gram-positive, non-spore forming microorganisms that produce lactic acid as the main end product of carbohydrate metabolism and include among others the genera Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Lactococcus and Leuconostoc. They are naturally associated to fermented food products, in which they carry out metabolic processes that improve their nutritional and sensory properties and ensure their safety and preservability. Moreover, LAB are a normal component of the oral, intestinal, and genito-urinary tract microflora and do activities that have been proven to be beneficial for human health, as demonstrated by numerous in vivo and in vitro studies. These include the treatment and prevention of infections, of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and of many other medical conditions. Indeed, LAB comprise important probiotics commonly used to allow the instauration of a beneficial intestinal microbiota and for stimulation and modulation of the host's immune system.

However, LAB, though generally regarded as innocuous microorganisms, can occasionally pose health hazards that include the formation of toxic substances, such as biogenic amines in food, the production of host tissue-degrading enzymes, e.g., gelatinases, haemolysins, cytolysins, and infections, occurring mainly in individuals with underlying conditions, such as endocarditis, bacteremia, neonatal meningitis, and pleuro-pulmonary and urinary tract infections.

Another aspect regarding LAB safe use is the possibility that these bacteria participate to the spread of antibiotic resistance (AR) genes associated with mobile genetic elements or unstable chromosomal regions. Determinants for resistance to different antibiotic classes have been detected in nearly all LAB genera and the necessity to thoroughly check strains intentionally added to the diet or naturally present in food products for a comprehensive panel of AR genes is needed to avoid exposure to LAB strains carrying those genes and preventing their dissemination with the related risk for public health.

Given the high doses at which these bacteria are usually administered, it is essential to monitor their safety features, though this is not yet systematically done when selecting strains to be used as food cultures and probiotic preparations.

This Special Issue aims at collecting original research or review articles regarding the possible risks related to LAB use and strategies to avoid the detrimental effects that can be caused by strains carrying harmful genetic characters through safety assessment. The need for caution in the administration of LAB probiotics to individuals with particular sensitivity to infection or predisposing factors should be clearly presented through the description of ascertained LAB infection cases and studies on the possession and expression of hazardous traits.

Dr. Franca Rossi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Microorganisms is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Safety aspects
  • Infection case reports
  • Adhesion and translocation
  • Hazardous genetic traits
  • Biogenic amines
  • Host tissue degrading enzymes
  • Antibiotic resistance In vitro safety assessment
  • Genome sequence-based safety assessment
  • Evaluation in animal models

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Anti-Rotaviral Activity of Low Molecular Weight and Non-Proteinaceous Substance from Bifidobacterium longum BORI Cell Extract
Microorganisms 2019, 7(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7040108
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 21 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
Rotavirus infection is the most common diarrheal disease worldwide in children under five years of age, and it often results in death. In recent years, research on the relationship between rotavirus and probiotics has shown that probiotics are effective against diarrhea. A clinical [...] Read more.
Rotavirus infection is the most common diarrheal disease worldwide in children under five years of age, and it often results in death. In recent years, research on the relationship between rotavirus and probiotics has shown that probiotics are effective against diarrhea. A clinical trial has reported that Bifidobacterium longum BORI reduced diarrhea induced by rotavirus. The present work investigated the anti-rotaviral effect of B. longum BORI by cytopathic effect observation and real time cell analyses. Our study found that B. longum BORI showed strong anti-rotaviral effect when incubated with MA104 cells prior to viral infection, suggesting that the probiotic does in fact interfere with the interaction of viruses and host cells. It is believed that the efficacy is due to low-molecular weight and non-protein components derived from B. longum BORI. This discovery can help broaden the industrial application of B. longum BORI, which has been proven to be a safe and effective probiotic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety Aspects of Lactic Acid Bacteria)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Probiotics: If It Does Not Help It Does Not Do Any Harm. Really?
Microorganisms 2019, 7(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7040104
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 6 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
Probiotics per definition should have beneficial effects on human health, and their consumption has tremendously increased in the last decades. In parallel, the amount of published material and claims for their beneficial efficacy soared continuously. Recently, multiple systemic reviews, meta-analyses, and expert opinions [...] Read more.
Probiotics per definition should have beneficial effects on human health, and their consumption has tremendously increased in the last decades. In parallel, the amount of published material and claims for their beneficial efficacy soared continuously. Recently, multiple systemic reviews, meta-analyses, and expert opinions expressed criticism on their claimed effects and safety. The present review describes the dark side of the probiotics, in terms of problematic research design, incomplete reporting, lack of transparency, and under-reported safety. Highlighted are the potential virulent factors and the mode of action in the intestinal lumen, risking the physiological microbiome equilibrium. Finally, regulatory topics are discussed to lighten the heterogeneous guidelines applied worldwide. The shift in the scientific world towards a better understanding of the human microbiome, before consumption of the probiotic cargo, is highly endorsed. It is hoped that better knowledge will extend the probiotic repertoire, re-confirm efficacy or safety, establish their efficacy and substantiate their beneficial effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety Aspects of Lactic Acid Bacteria)
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