Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Popomel and Vagimel, probiotic yogurts from novel Lactobacillus human isolates

J. Coronado, J. Conrado, J. Cornudo and D. di Danone
Dannon Institute for Rational Diary Products Research, Milkwackee, USA

Bacteria from the genus Lactobacillus are known to efficiently ferment carbohydrates producing lactic acid as their predominant primary metabolite. This property has been empirically used for centuries by mankind in the production of diary fermented products, such as cheese and yoghourt. The species L. acidophilus, L. casei and L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus are reportedly the most widely used in food biotechnology for these purposes. A particular isolate of L. casei, a bacterium that dwells in the oral cavity of men and animals, named for commercial and marketing purposes L. casei Immunitas, has become popular among consumers in the recent years, after scientific evidence has been presented relating consumption of the resulting dairy products (Actimel or Danactive) and beneficial effects on human health. In this report, we investigate the ability of randomly isolated strains of Lactobacillus to produce yogurt and the impact of its consumption in the health of consumers. Two environments are the preferred natural habitats for L. acidophilus: the intestines of milk-fed infants of 0-6 months and the vagina of women in fertile age. For those who ever tasted, L. acidophilus is responsible for the typical low pH of both environments. First, we isolated three strains of L. acidophilus from baby faeces, by printing a sterile cotton pick-up sampling kit (DigItTM, BetterThanASpoon Technologies Inc.) on fresh dirty diapers. Each strain was isolated from poo from a different individual and named after its origin: Susie, from the chubby daughter of farmers from Arkansas; Ayako, from a coughing Japanese doll from an industrial Tokyo suburb; and Julito, from an orphan found at a roadside among rotting melons in Villaconejos (Spain). We also isolated strains from the human vaginal mucosa, choosing vaginas from individuals of different ages and social conditions, namely Maripuri, a self-claimed virgin teenager from Móstoles (Spain); Deborah, a freelance prostitute with rich and promiscuous sexual activity; and Clotilde, the old-age amenorrheic landlady of the graduate student who was in charge of taking the samples. Except in the latter individual, who was a voluntary and generous donor of bacteria, the vaginal sampling was taking by applying a CunningTM device from ThingsYouCanHideInATampax Biotech Inc. In a blind tasting, experts noted some interesting qualities of the yogurts produced by natural fermentation of cow milk with these newly isolated ferments, regarding their organoleptic properties and general effects in health status and fitness, that are summarized in this table:

We conclude that new ferments of human origin, such as those used in the fabrication of our new Popomel and Vagimel yogurt varieties, should be tested in order to enhance the potential beneficial properties of probiotic yogurts. It is disgusting to think that products like Activia, made with Bifidobacterium animalis, a bacterium that finds its natural habitat in non-human animal mucosae is already in the market, while similar ferments from human mucosae have not been thoroughly tested.

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