Probiotic Biofilm Breakers.

A year ago, I did a post on herbs and supplements that are biofilm breakers. A reader raised a question about probiotics that could do the same…. interesting question! Warning: there are many types of biofilms! That is,  a biofilm created by one bacteria is different from the next bacteria.

I found a very good article on the concept published in Nature

Probiotics to counteract biofilm-associated infections: promising and conflicting data[2014]. [Full Text]

  • “In recent years, the ability of other commonly used probiotic strains (Lactobacillus acidophilus DSM 20079, Lactobacillus paracasei DSMZ 16671, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG [Culturelle], Lactobacillus reuteri strains PTA 5289 and L. reuteri SD2112, etc.) to hamper S. mutans growth and biofilm formation in vitro has been evaluated, and these results suggest that the antimicrobial activity of Lactobacilli seems to be strain-specific and pH-dependent
  • “probiotic L. salivarius W24 was able to affect the compositional stability of the microbial communities derived from individual saliva and appeared to have a cariogenic potential
  • “On the one hand, there are studies reporting that probiotics are able to inhibit biofilm formation of intestinal pathogens, but on the other hand different experimental data seem to support the enhancing of enteropathogens biofilm biomass in the presence of probiotics.”
  • “In 2010, Hancock and coworkers investigated the biofilm-forming capacity of Nissle 1917[Mutaflor] and found that this strain was a significantly better biofilm former than enteropathogenic, enterotoxigenic and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli strains, with the exception of being able to out compete such strains during biofilm formation”
  • “three probiotic strains (L. rhamnosus GG, B. longum NB667, and Bifidobacterium animalis IPLA-R1) have been demonstrated to increase the adhesion of Enterobacter sakazakii ATCC 29544 and E. coli NCTC 8603, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium ATCC 29631 and Clostridium difficile ATCC 9689”
  • “However, data are still scarce and not always consistent to look at probiotics as tool to avoid biofilm formation and/or to disperse pre-formed pathogenic biofilms.”

I found a few newer articles, but the full text version cited above gives far more detail on which probiotics (and mixtures) increases or decreases biofilm – the data is very very fuzzy. On the plus side:

  • Mutaflor does not destroy biofilms, it just create it’s own biofilms better!
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG [Culturelle] appears to be a breaker (of some biofilms)