Lactobacilli: What They Are and Functions

Lactobacilli: What They Are and Functions

What are

What are Lactobacilli?

Lactobacilli are a genus of  Gram-positive  , rod-shaped  , facultative anaerobic or microaerophilic bacteria.

Most of these microorganisms have the ability to ferment lactose and other sugars , producing acids, in particular – but not only – lactic acid .

Consequently, some lactobacilli are used by the dairy industry, where they are essential for the acid coagulation of proteins , which is the basis of the production of  yogurt  and  cheese .

Lactobacilli also abound in the human intestine, while in women they constitute an important bulwark against intimate infections, localizing – especially in the  fertile period  – at the  vaginal level .

Particular lactobacilli are used as  probiotics in supplements , dietary products and even in medicinal specialties.

The term probiotic refers to all those microorganisms of human origin which, ingested in adequate quantities, manage to arrive alive and active in the intestine , colonizing it and exerting a positive action on the development of the  intestinal microflora  and on maintaining health. Of course, all these qualities must not be lost during the preservation of the product.

What are they for

Functions and biological role of lactobacilli: what are they for?

Most probiotics belong to the genus Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Although the  intestinal bacterial flora  is a sort of  fingerprint  – therefore more or less variable from individual to individual in relation to the state of health, diet and possible use of drugs – among the most useful probiotic lactobacilli we mention  Lactobacillus Acidophilus ,  Lactobacillus Casei , sp. rhamnosum ,  Lactobacillus johnsonii .

These bacteria, among other things, are the subject of intense research activity and are widely used in probiotic preparations for food use.

The most characterized therapeutic field is that of intestinal infections ( gastroenteritis ), followed by the restoration of a friendly microflora following  prolonged antibiotic treatments  , and by the improvement of lactose intolerance .

However, the possible therapeutic and health (preventive) applications are varied and numerous, given the presence in the literature of a large amount of studies, unfortunately often with conflicting and therefore still preliminary results.

For example, probiotic lactobacilli could be useful for preventing and/or treating (mainly as adjuvants) inflammatory bowel diseases ,  allergic phenomena ,  urinary tract infections ,  colon cancer , hypercholesterolemia  and  constipation .



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