The promises and risks of probiotic Bacillus species

  • Joanna Jeżewska-Frąckowiak Uniwersytet Gdański Wydział Chemii Katedra Biotechnologii Molekularnej ul. Wita Stwosza 63 80-308 Gdańsk
  • Krystyna Seroczyńska GRUPA INCO S.A., ul. Wspólna 25, 00-519 Warszawa, Poland
  • Justyna Banaszczyk GRUPA INCO S.A., ul. Wspólna 25, 00-519 Warszawa, Poland
  • Gabriela Jedrzejczak GRUPA INCO S.A., ul. Wspólna 25, 00-519 Warszawa, Poland
  • Agnieszka Żylicz-Stachula Uniwersytet Gdański Wydział Chemii Katedra Biotechnologii Molekularnej ul. Wita Stwosza 63 80-308 Gdańsk
  • Piotr Mariusz Skowron Uniwersytet Gdański Wydział Chemii Katedra Biotechnologii Molekularnej ul. Wita Stwosza 63 80-308 Gdańsk


Supplementing the human microbiome with probiotic microorganisms is a proposed solution for civilization syndromes such as dysbiosis and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) disorders. Bimodal probiotic strains of the Bacillus genus constitute the microbiota of the human environment, and are typically found in soil, water, a number of non-dairy fermented foods, as well as in human and animal GIT. Probiotic Bacillus sp. are Gram positive rods, with the ability of sporulation to survive environmental stress and preparation conditions. In vitro models of the human stomach and human studies with probiotic Bacillus reveal the mechanisms of its life cycle and sporulation. The Bacillus sp. probiotic biofilm introduces biochemical effects such as antimicrobial and enzymatic activity, thus contributing to protection from GIT and other infections. Despite the beneficial activity of Bacillus strains belonging to the safety group 1, a number of strains can pose a substantial health risk, carrying genes for various toxins or antibiotic resistance. Commercially available Bacillus probiotic preparations include strains from the subtilis and other closely related phylogenetic clades. Those intended for oral administration in humans, often encapsulated with appropriate supporting materials, still tend to be mislabeled or poorly characterized. Bacillus sp. MALDI-TOF analysis, combined with sequencing of characteristic 16S rRNA or enzyme coding genes, may provide accurate identification. A promising future application of the probiotic Bacillus sp. might be the microflora biocontrol in the human body and the closest human environment. Environmental probiotic Bacillus species display the potential to support human microflora, however controversies regarding the safety of certain strains is a key factor in their still limited application.



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