Probiotics: Lessons Learned from Nucleic Acid-based Analysis of Bowel Communities
The majority of probiotics are administered as dietary supplements either in milk-based foods, or as tablets and capsules. Consumption of probiotic products is usually aimed at improving the general health of the consumer, although a recent trend has been to use them in ameliorating the condition of sufferers of specific diseases that affect the bowel. Traditionally, it has been believed that probiotics benefit the consumer by altering the composition of the bacterial community that inhabits the bowel. However, evidence to support this view have been difficult to obtain since the majority of the bowel inhabitants have not yet been cultivated under laboratory conditions. Culture-independent, nucleic acid-based analytical methods targeting the 16S rRNA gene have, therefore, become an essential adjunct to traditional bacteriological approaches in studies of the impact of probiotic consumption on the bowel ecosystem. Commonly used analytical methods that are used in probiotic studies are described and evaluated critically in this chapter. Examples of knowledge that have been gained through use of these analytical methods is presented.
KeywordsBacterial Community Probiotic Strain Probiotic Product Restriction Fragment Length Poly Arbitrary Primed Polymerase Chain Reaction
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