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Probiotics as an Alternative for Antibiotics


Probiotics as an Alternative for Antibiotics in Treating And Preventing Infections Caused by Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Immunological Engineering, Russia, Moscow reg., Lyubuchany


  • Lawson Health Research Institute, Canada, ON, London\nUniversity of Texas / Medical Branch, USA, TX, Galveston

Project summary

The research has been reviewed and approved at Canadian-Russian Meeting on “New Alternatives for Antibiotics”. The meeting was hosted by the ISTC in Moscow on November 27-29, 2006. The research has been recommended for support through the ISTC.
The aim of the project - to study and to demonstrate a possibility to use probiotics and antimicrobial substances they produce as an alternative for antibiotics in treating and preventing infections, and as means for monitoring of antibiotic resistant populations of pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria.
The replacement of antibiotics (if only in part) with probiotics and with their antimicrobial products would improve safety of public health since the spread of drug resistance among human and animal bacterial pathogens is on increase. At present, the spread of drug resistant pathogenic microorganisms is presenting a severe hazard to the society.
Currently, there is a great body of facts indicating that probiotics may be beneficial for treating many infectious and somatic diseases. Probiotics are successfully used to recover intestinal microbiota in disbacterioses (especially in children) as a result of intensive antibiotic therapy and some other extreme factors. They are good to prevent and cure bacterial and viral diarrheas. Diarrhea is a common disease in many countries. It is often accountable for deaths of people, especially of children, and may be accompanied by necrotic enteritis, gastroenteritis and some other pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, bacterial vaginitis, infections of the urinary system, etc. Positive effects of probiotics in treating Crohn’s disease and allergy in children are reported. They are found to be effective in preventing cancer and improving the mucosal immunity.
Besides, probiotics are widely and successfully used in veterinary to prevent and to eliminate gastrointestinal disorders in young animals. Using probiotics, it is possible to control colonization of human food-borne pathogens in animals and poultry (E.coli 0157:H7, Salmonella spp., Y.enterocolitica, Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus spp., and Clostridium spp., etc). These pathogens present the risk for human health.
Important is that probiotics produce no side-effects in humans and animals if even applied in high concentrations for a long time. However, one thing should be taken into account. Probiotic microorganisms are involved into the development of autoinfectious diseases in immune-deficiency inpiduals (bacteriemia, endocarditis, oral infections, etc). Because of negative consequences of some probiotics, many researchers suggest to use either functionally active products of their vital activity or structural components of probiotics rather than live cultures of probiotic bacteria for medical and veterinary purposes. These suggestions are impotent and have found practical realization both in the Russian Federation country and abroad.
Probiotic microorganisms produce chemically varying bactericidal and bacteriostatic substances (organic and fat acids, alcohols, hydrogen peroxide and siderophores). Their role in generating antagonistic activity has been studied and described well. But, in our view, a role and contribution of low-weight-molecular antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) produced by probiotic bacteria has not been studied enough so far.
In proposed project will be studied a possibility of application of not only live cultures of probiotics, but also of their different metabolites, in particular of low-molecular-weight peptides (bacteriocins), organic acids and lectines to treatment of infectious diseases of humans and animals. A possibility of their use as means to control the spread of resistant populations of intestinal microorganisms will be demonstrated as well. We shall investigate a contribution of the above substances to antagonistic relationships between probiotics and different drug resistant pathogens. Their influence on functions and the immunity of a macroorganism will be assessed. The research will be carried out by making experiments in vitro on broilers and patients in clinics, who will receive permitted probiotics for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes. Besides, we are going to study influence of probiotics and bacteriocins they produce (together or separately) on the development of and live weights of broilers. Their effect on intensity of the immunity of broilers after vaccination of them with Salmonella vaccine and avian anti -flue vaccine will be studied.
Much attention will be given to effects of probiotics, bacteriocins and some other metabolites on antibiotic resistance of intestinal microorganisms. So, we plan to study in vitro influence of probiotics on the process of conjugative transfer of R plasmids from donor cells (clinical strains of Enterobacteriaceae, etc) to a recipient, as well as on phenotypical expression of transferred genes of antibiotic resistance. There will be made experiments on broilers to assess influence of probiotics and bacteriocins on the content of intestinal antibiotic resistant bacteria of Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus spp., and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Influence of probiotics and their metabolites on the development of biofilms produced by antibiotic resistant E.coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus will be additionally studied. The main objective of the research is to minimize the number of antibiotic resistant bacterial populations in intestines of broilers. As a result, the spread of drug resistant microorganisms in the environment is expected to be minimized. A possibility of transmission of R factors via food cooked from poultry will be eliminated.
Our research will become a contribution to the research, which scientists from the Canadian Research & Development Centre for Probiotics are going to carry out. Dr.G.Reid is the director of the center and the collaborator of our project proposal. As a part of our joint research, Dr. G.Reid is going to provide us with probiotic strains, to participate in identification of antimicrobial probiotic products and to design the research with ithe involvement of poultry and people.
The staff of the IIE has all technical and methodological capabilities to solve tasks of the given project proposal. There is a wide spectrum of probiotic strains belonging to different taxonomic groups. Their antagonistic activities have been assessed. There is equipment required to conduct submerged cultivation of producers of antimicrobial substances. There are interesting methods of isolation and purification of bacteriocins and lectines.
The IIE have all conditions to conduct experiments on animals, including broilers. The animal house is certified in compliance with laws relating to veterinary science of the RF.
Specialists to be involved have great theoretical and practical experience in the area of application of probiotics in medicine and veterinary, research on transmissible antibiotic resistance, isolation and purification of antimicrobial components and testing them on broilers.