Previous reports have shown that several probiotic strains can resist the antibacterial activity of bovine lactoferrin (bLf), but the results are inconsistent. Moreover, a portion of orally administered apo-bLf is digested in vivo by pepsin to yield bLf hydrolysate, which produces stronger antibacterial activity than that observed with apo-bLf. However, whether bLf hydrolysate affects the growth of probiotic strains is unclear. Therefore, various probiotic strains in Taiwan were collected and evaluated for activity against apo-bLf and bLf hydrolysate in vitro. Thirteen probiotic strains were evaluated, and the growth of Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356, Lactobacillus salivarius ATCC 11741, Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103, Bifidobacterium longum ATCC 15707, and Bifidobacterium lactis BCRC 17394 were inhibited by both apo-bLf and bLf hydrolysate. The growth of 8 strains were not affected by apo-bLf and bLf hydrolysate, including L. rhamnosus ATCC 7469, Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 23272, Lactobacillus fermentum ATCC 11739, Lactobacillus coryniformis ATCC 25602, L. acidophilus BCRC 14065, Bifidobacterium infantis ATCC 15697, Bifidobacterium bifidum ATCC 29521, and Pediococcus acidilactici ATCC 8081. However, apo-bLf and its hydrolysate inhibited the growth of foodborne pathogens, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterococcus faecalis. Moreover, the supernatants produced by L. fermentum, B. lactis, and B. longum inhibited the growth of most pathogens. Importantly, a combination of apo-bLf or bLf hydrolysate with the supernatants of cultures of the organisms described above showed synergistic or partially synergistic effects against the growth of most of the selected pathogens. In conclusion, several probiotic strains are resistant to apo-bLf and bLf hydrolysate, warranting clinical studies to evaluate the antimicrobial potential for the combination of apo-bLf or its hydrolysate with specific probiotics
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