Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host (FAO 2001).
AAT has extensive expertise in the human probiotic field and can assist in selecting “superior microbial strains” for probiotic applications.
Our scientists can provide thorough investigation of probiotic strains’ metabolic profiling, antibiotic susceptibility/resistance and viability assays. The AAT staff can optimize bacterial preservation strategies to achieve maximum viability and shelf-life of probiotic products.

Basic microbiology

  • Plate count of bacteria and yeasts (probiotics as well as contaminants) in raw materials and finished products (food, food supplement, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, etc)
  • Isolation of probiotic strains for human use
  • In vitro evaluation of probiotic properties (resistance to gastric juices, pancreatic secretions, bile salts)
  • Antibiotic susceptibility/resistance profiles and safety evaluation
  • Metabolic requirements
  • Stress response profiling
  • In vitro detection of immune system modulation
  • Probiotic stability evaluation at different storage condition
  • Improvement of technological properties (elevated microbial concentration and log-term stability)
  • Deposit of the strains on International Collections under IDA status
  • support to the drafting of national and international patents
  • Characterization of materials with prebiotic effect
  • Evaluation of the impact of prebiotic compounds on fecal microbiota (batch femrentation, plate coiunts, real-time PCR of dominant groups, DGGE, FISH, NGS etc)
  • Identification and quantification of SCFA

Molecular biology

  • Taxonomical classification of individual strains by PCR-based approaches
  • DNA quantification by real-time PCR
  • Microbial typing by PCR techniques
  • Individual strains detection and identification in commercial products by means of strain-specific techniques

Microbiota of the different districts of the human body

  • Evaluation of the impact of prebiotics and probiotics on the microbiota of biological samples through molecular techniques such as DGGE, real-time PCR, FISh, next generation sequencing, etc.
  • Evaluation of the impact of food and food supplements in terms of eubiosis/disbiosis in the clinical evaluation on small populations of healthy volunteers
  • Analytical support to clinical trials on food, food supplements and drugs

In-vitro models for the preliminary evaluation of efficacy of probiotics (predictive models to drive the choice for further clinical trials)

  • FMF (Fecal Microbiota Fermentation): fermentation of a pool of healthy standardised feces of food, food supplements, botanicals, prebiotics, fibers, active principles, drugs, with the aim to identify their impact on human microbiota;
  • Model to study pathogen inhibition: pluri-steps composite model to evaluate the ability of a probiotic strain to negatively affect the pathogen;
  • Model to evaluate the ability to contain oxidative stress: use of human cultured cell lines submitted to an induced oxidative damage and evaluation of the ability of the probiotic to positively impact on different biomarkers;
  • Adhesion model to cultured human cell line to evaluate the ability to modulate the immune system: the contact of human cell line (gut, vaginal, cutaneous,…) with the probiotic generate a stimulus towards several biomarkers that can detected and quantified, allowing to build up a potential profile of efficacy of the probiotic.This profile can be then confirmed by in-vivo trials.

The models described above can be variably combined to design customized models to study the efficacy pf probiotics for different applications. Some examples of applications already relaized in AAT are available below: