Characterisation and selection of probiotic lactobacilli for a preliminary minipig feeding trial and their effect on serum cholesterol levels, faeces pH and faeces moisture content
Three out of 297 Lactobacillus strains isolated from pig faeces were selected for a feeding trial on account of their high bile-salt hydrolase (BSH) activity, bile-salt resistance, low pH tolerance and the production of antimicrobial substances. Two strains were identified as Lactobacillus johnsonii and one as Lactobacillus reuteri by DNA-DNA hybridisation. L. johnsoniii BFE 1061 produced a bacteriocin active against a range of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and nonrelated bacteria including Clostridium perfringens. Six minipigs were maintained on a high-fat, high-cholesterol ('Western Style') diet for 17 weeks after which the diet was supplemented with the 'probiotic mixture' containing the above mentioned three Lactobacillus strains at 2 x 1012 CFU per pig per day for five weeks. The mixture was given as a resuspended lyophilisate. During a two week follow-up period the minipigs received only the 'Western-style' diet without probiotic supplementation. A lowering effect on serum cholesterol levels was indicated after three weeks probiotic feeding, concomitant with an increase in the moisture content of the faeces and Lactobacillus cell numbers. Triglycerides, pH and number of lactic acid bacteria in faeces were not significantly influenced by probiotic supplementation.