Effect of a synbiotic yogurt on levels of fecal bifidobacteria, clostridia, and enterobacteria

Amrita Palaria, Ivy Johnson-Kanda, Daniel J. O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


While ingestion of synbiotic yogurts containing Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis and inulin is increasing, their effect on certain microbial groups in the human intestine is unclear. To further investigate this, a large-scale, crossover-design, placebocontrolled study was utilized to evaluate the effect of a synbiotic yogurt containing B. animalis subsp. lactis Bb-12 and inulin on the human intestinal bifidobacteria, clostridia, and enterobacteria. Fecal samples were collected at 14 time points from 46 volunteers who completed the study, and changes in the intestinal bacterial levels were monitored using real-time PCR. Strain Bb-12 could not be detected in feces after 2 weeks of washout. A live/dead PCR procedure indicated that the Bb-12 strain detected in the fecal samples was alive. A significant increase (P<0.001) in the total bifidobacterial numbers was seen in both groups of subjects during the final washout period compared to the prefeeding period. This increase in total bifidobacteria corresponded with a significant decrease (P<0.05) in numbers of clostridia but not enterobacteria. No significant differences in numbers of bifidobacteria, clostridia, or enterobacteria were observed between the probiotic and placebo groups during any of the feeding periods. However, subgrouping subjects based on lower initial bifidobacterial numbers or higher initial clostridial numbers did show corresponding significant differences between the synbiotic yogurt and placebo groups. This was not observed for a subgroup with higher initial enterobacterial numbers. While this synbiotic yogurt can increase bifidobacterial numbers and decrease clostridial numbers (but not enterobacterial numbers) in some individuals, it cannot modulate these microbial groups in the majority of individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-940
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2012


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