Home Publications The Effect of Probiotic Bacteria on Composition and Metabolite Production

The Effect of Probiotic Bacteria on Composition and Metabolite Production of Faecal Microbiota Using In Vitro Batch Cultures


Jessica Eastwood, Saskia van Hemert, Carlos Poveda, Stephen Elmore, Claire Williams, Daniel Lamport, Gemma Walton






Probiotic supplements are increasingly being used to target the gut microbiome with a view to improving cognitive and psychological function via the gut-brain axis. One possible mechanism behind the effect of probiotics is through alterations to microbially-derived metabolites including short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and neurotransmitters. However, research to date has largely been conducted in animal models or under conditions irrelevant to the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT). The aim of the current work was therefore to use anaerobic, pH controlled in vitro batch cultures to (a) assess the production of neuroactive metabolites in human faecal microbiota under conditions relevant to the human GIT, and (b) to explore how several pre-selected probiotic strains may affect bacterial composition and metabolite production. Enumeration of bacteria was assessed using fluorescence in situ hybridisation with flow cytometry, and concentrations of SCFAs and neurotransmitters were measured using gas chromatography and liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy, respectively. GABA, serotonin, tryptophan, and dopamine were successfully detected, suggesting some level of microbial derivation. The addition of Lactococcus lactis W58 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus W198 resulted in a significant increase in lactate after 8 h of fermentation, while no significant effect of probiotics on bacterial composition or neurotransmitter production was found.