649 research outputs found

    Bioengineering Lantibiotics for Therapeutic Success

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    peer-reviewedSeveral examples of highly modified antimicrobial peptides have been described. While many such peptides are non-ribosomally synthesized, ribosomally synthesized equivalents are being discovered with increased frequency. Of the latter group, the lantibiotics continue to attract most attention. In the present review, we discuss the implementation of in vivo and in vitro engineering systems to alter, and even enhance, the antimicrobial activity, antibacterial spectrum and physico-chemical properties, including heat stability, solubility, diffusion and protease resistance, of these compounds. Additionally, we discuss the potential applications of these lantibiotics for use as therapeutics.DF,CH,PC,RR are supported by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan, through a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA14/TIDA/2286) to DF, a SFI Investigator awards to CH and RR (10/IN.1/B3027),SFI-PIfunding(11/PI/1137) to PDC and the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre under Grant Number SFI/12/RC/2273

    Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota

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    Meeting abstract, 17th International Congress on Infectious DiseasesAs the scientific community continues to develop an ever-greater understanding of the composition and function of the human gut microbiota, and the role of specific microbial populations in health and disease, attention has turned to the tools that are at our disposal with respect to altering these microbes in a beneficial way. The options available include the use of diet, probiotics/prebiotics, antimicrobials and, potentially, exercise. Here, our recent investigations of the relationship between protein, bacteriocin producing probiotics and exercise and the gut microbiota and, in turn, health will be described

    Fermented beverages with health-promoting potential: Past and future perspectives

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    peer-reviewedFermentation is an ancient form of food preservation, which also improves the nutritional content of foods. In many regions of the world, fermented beverages have become known for their health-promoting attributes. In addition to harnessing traditional beverages for commercial use, there have recently been innovative efforts to develop non-dairy probiotic fermented beverages from a variety of substrates, including soy milk, whey, cereals and vegetable and fruit juices. On the basis of recent developments, it is anticipated that fermented beverages will continue to be a significant component within the functional food market

    Antimicrobial antagonists against food pathogens; a bacteriocin perspective

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    peer-reviewedEfforts are continuing to find novel bacteriocins with enhanced specificity and potency. Traditional plating techniques are still being used for bacteriocin screening studies, however, the availability of ever more bacterial genome sequences and the use of in silico gene mining tools have revealed novel bacteriocin gene clusters that would otherwise have been overlooked. Furthermore, synthetic biology and bioengineering-based approaches are allowing scientists to harness existing and novel bacteriocin gene clusters through expression in different hosts and by enhancing functionalities. The same principles apply to bacteriocin producing probiotic cultures and their application to control pathogens in the gut. We can expect that the recent developments on bacteriocins from Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) described here will contribute greatly to increased commercialisation of bacteriocins in food systems.This work was funded by the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, a research centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), through the Irish Government’s National Development Plan. The authors and their work were supported by SFI (grant no. 12/RC/2273

    Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota

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    peer-reviewedThe human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells and has a significant effect on many aspects of human physiology including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disruption of this population has been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including examples such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer that are highlighted in this review. A logical extension of these observations suggests that the manipulation of the gut microbiota can be employed to prevent or treat these conditions. Thus, here we highlight a variety of options, including the use of changes in diet (including the use of prebiotics), antimicrobial-based intervention, probiotics and faecal microbiota transplantation, and discuss their relative merits with respect to modulating the intestinal community in a beneficial way.C.J.W, C.M.G. and P.D.C are supported by a SFI PI award “Obesibiotics” (11/PI/1137

    In Vitro Activities of Nisin and Nisin Derivatives Alone and In Combination with Antibiotics against Staphylococcus Biofilms

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    peer-reviewedThe development and spread of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to the existing catalog of antibiotics is a major public health threat. Biofilms are complex, sessile communities of bacteria embedded in an organic polymer matrix which serve to further enhance antimicrobial resistance. Consequently, novel compounds and innovative methods are urgently required to arrest the proliferation of drug-resistant infections in both nosocomial and community environments. Accordingly, it has been suggested that antimicrobial peptides could be used as novel natural inhibitors that can be used in formulations with synergistically acting antibiotics. Nisin is a member of the lantibiotic family of antimicrobial peptides that exhibit potent antibacterial activity against many Gram-positive bacteria. Recently we have used bioengineering strategies to enhance the activity of nisin against several high profile targets, including multi-drug resistant clinical pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycinresistant enterococci, staphylococci, and streptococci associated with bovine mastitis. We have also identified nisin derivatives with an enhanced ability to impair biofilm formation and to reduce the density of established biofilms of methicillin resistant S. pseudintermedius. The present study was aimed at evaluating the potential of nisin and nisin derivatives to increase the efficacy of conventional antibiotics and to assess the possibility of killing and/or eradicating biofilm-associated cells of a variety of staphylococcal targets. Growth curve-based comparisons established that combinations of derivatives nisin V C penicillin or nisin I4V C chloramphenicol had an enhanced inhibitory effect against S. aureus SA113 and S. pseudintermedius DSM21284, respectively, compared to the equivalent nisin A C antibiotic combinations or when each antimicrobial was administered alone. Furthermore, the metabolic activity of established biofilms treated with nisin V C chloramphenicol and nisin I4V C chloramphenicol combinations revealed a significant decrease in S. aureus SA113 and S. pseudintermedius DSM21284 biofilm viability, respectively, compared to the nisin A C antibiotic combinations as determined by the rapid colorimetric XTT assay. The results indicate that the activities of the nisin derivative and antibiotic combinations represent a significant improvement over that of the wild-type nisin and antibiotic combination and merit further investigation with a view to their use as anti-biofilm agents.DF,CH,PC,RR are supported by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan, through a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA14/TIDA/2286)to DF,a SFI Investigator awards to CH and RR(10/IN.1/B3027),SFI-PI funding(11/PI/1137)to PC and the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre under Grant Number SFI/12/RC/2273

    Sequencing-Based Analysis of the Bacterial and Fungal Composition of Kefir Grains and Milks from Multiple Sources

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    peer-reviewedKefir is a fermented milk-based beverage to which a number of health-promoting properties have been attributed. The microbes responsible for the fermentation of milk to produce kefir consist of a complex association of bacteria and yeasts, bound within a polysaccharide matrix, known as the kefir grain. The consistency of this microbial population, and that present in the resultant beverage, has been the subject of a number of previous, almost exclusively culture-based, studies which have indicated differences depending on geographical location and culture conditions. However, culture-based identification studies are limited by virtue of only detecting species with the ability to grow on the specific medium used and thus culture-independent, molecular-based techniques offer the potential for a more comprehensive analysis of such communities. Here we describe a detailed investigation of the microbial population, both bacterial and fungal, of kefir, using high-throughput sequencing to analyse 25 kefir milks and associated grains sourced from 8 geographically distinct regions. This is the first occasion that this technology has been employed to investigate the fungal component of these populations or to reveal the microbial composition of such an extensive number of kefir grains or milks. As a result several genera and species not previously identified in kefir were revealed. Our analysis shows that the bacterial populations in kefir are dominated by 2 phyla, the Firmicutes and the Proteobacteria. It was also established that the fungal populations of kefir were dominated by the genera Kazachstania, Kluyveromyces and Naumovozyma, but that a variable sub-dominant population also exists.The Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre is a research centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), through the Irish Government’s National Development Plan. The authors and their work were supported by SFI CSET grant APC CSET 2 grant 07/CE/B1368

    A degenerate PCR-based strategy as a means of identifying homologues of aminoglycoside and ß-lactam resistance genes in the gut microbiota

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    peer-reviewedBackground: The potential for the human gut microbiota to serve as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes has been the subject of recent discussion. However, this has yet to be investigated using a rapid PCR-based approach. In light of this, here we aim to determine if degenerate PCR primers can detect aminoglycoside and β-lactam resistance genes in the gut microbiota of healthy adults, without the need for an initial culture-based screen for resistant isolates. In doing so, we would determine if the gut microbiota of healthy adults, lacking recent antibiotic exposure, is a reservoir for resistance genes. Results: The strategy employed resulted in the identification of numerous aminoglycoside (acetylation, adenylation and phosphorylation) and β-lactam (including bla OXA, bla TEM, bla SHV and bla CTX-M) resistance gene homologues. On the basis of homology, it would appear that these genes originated from different bacterial taxa, with members of the Enterobacteriaceae being a particularly rich source. The results demonstrate that, even in the absence of recent antibiotic exposure, the human gut microbiota is a considerable reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that the gut can be a significant source of aminoglycoside and β-lactam resistance genes, even in the absence of recent antibiotic exposure. The results also demonstrate that PCR-based approaches can be successfully applied to detect antibiotic resistance genes in the human gut microbiota, without the need to isolate resistant strains. This approach could also be used to rapidly screen other complex environments for target genes.Fiona Fouhy is in receipt of an Irish Research Council EMBARK scholarship and is a Teagasc Walsh fellow. Research in the PDC laboratory is also supported by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigator award 11/PI/113

    The Microbiota and Health Promoting Characteristics of the Fermented Beverage Kefir

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    peer-reviewedKefir is a complex fermented dairy product created through the symbiotic fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria and yeasts contained within an exopolysaccharide and protein complex called a kefir grain. As with other fermented dairy products, kefir has been associated with a range of health benefits such as cholesterol metabolism and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition, antimicrobial activity, tumor suppression, increased speed of wound healing, and modulation of the immune system including the alleviation of allergy and asthma. These reports have led to increased interest in kefir as a focus of research and as a potential probiotic-containing product. Here, we review those studies with a particular emphasis on the microbial composition and the health benefits of the product, as well as discussing the further development of kefir as an important probiotic product.The authors are funded through the Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Scheme(2014025)and internal Teagasc funding(RMIS6486). BW is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program and research in the Cotter laboratory is funded by SFI through the PI award “Obesibiotics”(11/PI/1137)and in the form of a center grant (APC Microbiome Institute Grant Number SFI/12/RC/2273)

    The Prevalence and Control of Bacillus and Related Spore-Forming Bacteria in the Dairy Industry

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    peer-reviewedMilk produced in udder cells is sterile but due to its high nutrient content, it can be a good growth substrate for contaminating bacteria. The quality of milk is monitored via somatic cell counts and total bacterial counts, with prescribed regulatory limits to ensure quality and safety. Bacterial contaminants can cause disease, or spoilage of milk and its secondary products. Aerobic spore-forming bacteria, such as those from the genera Sporosarcina, Paenisporosarcina, Brevibacillus, Paenibacillus, Geobacillus and Bacillus, are a particular concern in this regard as they are able to survive industrial pasteurization and form biofilms within pipes and stainless steel equipment. These single or multiple-species biofilms become a reservoir of spoilage microorganisms and a cycle of contamination can be initiated. Indeed, previous studies have highlighted that these microorganisms are highly prevalent in dead ends, corners, cracks, crevices, gaskets, valves and the joints of stainless steel equipment used in the dairy manufacturing plants. Hence, adequate monitoring and control measures are essential to prevent spoilage and ensure consumer safety. Common controlling approaches include specific cleaning-in-place processes, chemical and biological biocides and other novel methods. In this review, we highlight the problems caused by these microorganisms, and discuss issues relating to their prevalence, monitoring thereof and control with respect to the dairy industry.NG is funded by the Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Scheme and through the Irish Dairy Levy funded project ‘Thermodur-Out.
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