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Gastrointestinal transit survival of anEnterococcus faeciumprobiotic strain administered with or without vancomycin

International Journal of Food Microbiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0168-1605(02)00047-8
  • Probiotic
  • Enterococcus Faecium
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Humans
  • Biology


Abstract The primary aim of this study was to evaluate if an ingested probiotic, containing viable Enterococcus faecium could survive gastrointestinal transit and if so, correlate the amount of the recovered probiotic strain with the host's own enterococci. The second aim was to investigate if simultaneous vancomycin intake influenced the survival and persistence of the probiotic strain and the stability of endogenous enterococci strains. Twenty healthy volunteers were given the probiotic product once daily for 10 days. Half of the subjects were simultaneously given vancomycin. Isolates of E. faecium strains were genotypically or phenotypically analysed with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and the PhenePlate™ system, respectively. In eight of the ten volunteers given only the probiotic, the ingested E. faecium could be detected on day 10, while in none on day 31. From subjects given both probiotic and vancomycin no ingested E. faecium could be detected on day 10 or day 31. The estimated amount of ingested E. faecium recovered from faeces on day 10 ranged from 1.2×10 3 to 4.2×10 6 colony forming units per gram faeces, which in several cases were a substantial part of the total amount of E. faecium. The E. faecium isolated before probiotic plus vancomycin administration showed no close relationship to the ones isolated 3 weeks after ceased intake in any subjects. In conclusion, the ingested E. faecium strain can survive gastrointestinal transit. After intake, the E. faecium probiotic strain might become a large part of the total E. faecium population. The occurrence of the probiotic strain in the human gut seems to be transient after intake stop. Re-colonization of E. faecium after simultaneous probiotic plus vancomycin intake occurs mainly with strains without close genetic relationship to the strains harboured before treatment or to the ingested E. faecium strain.

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