Texas A&M University scientists from the departments of nutrition and food science and poultry science have developed a new medium for the cultivation of beneficial microorganisms called lactobacilli.
A better understanding of the lactobacilli metabolism system is important, since it can be used for improving feeding efficiency in animals, correcting malnutrition in humans, manufacturing fermented food products, and driving the bioconversion of waste streams into value-added products such as biofuel and probiotics.
“Lactobacilli are normal residents of the human gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts, where they promote host health and can be taken as probiotics,” said Dr. Joseph Sturino, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food science, Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture an Ldife Sciences, and lead investigator for the study.
“Unfortunately, the nutrient compositions of media that are traditionally used to cultivate lactobacilli are largely undefined,” said Dr. Rani Menon, an AgriLife Research postdoctoral research associate. This lack of definition complicates their use when trying to identify nutrients to stimulate the growth and metabolic activity of these important microorganisms.
As a result of experiments to define optimized compositions of media, the overall contribution of undefined components such as peptone, yeast extract, and beef extract were reduced by 70 percent in the final formulation. In addition, the pale yellow color of the new medium is much lighter than the current standard medium, which may improve sensitivity for assays to measure biomass accumulation.
According to Menon, the new medium not only supports biomass accumulation comparable to the current medium, but it also exhibits greater semi-selectivity against non-lactobacilli. “Together, these results suggest that the new medium is an acceptable alternative for use in many metabolic bioassays,” Menon added.
“Bioactive compounds of interest might include those relevant to food and nutrition, such as in the screening for probiotic compounds that may confer a health benefit, as well as compounds that might accelerate the production of biofuels,” Sturino said.