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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Bacteria used for the production of yogurt inactivate carcinogens and prevent DNA damage in the colon of rats.

Lactic acid-producing bacteria prevent carcinogen-induced preneoplastic lesions and tumors in rat colon. Because the mechanisms responsible for these protective effects are unknown, two strains of lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus 191R and Streptococcus salivarius ssp. thermophilus CH3, that are used to produce yogurt, were investigated in vitro and in vivo to elucidate their potential to deactivate carcinogens. Using the "Comet assay" to detect genetic damage, we found that L. bulgaricus 191R applied orally to rats could prevent 1, 2-dimethylhydrazine-induced DNA breaks in the colon in vivo, whereas St. thermophilus CH3 were not effective. However, in vitro, both strains prevented DNA damage induced by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) in isolated primary rat colon cells. Extracts prepared from milk fermented with St. thermophilus CH3 were as efficient in deactivating MNNG as was L-cysteine. Isolated metabolites arising from bacteria during fermentation in the colon or in milk [L(+) lactate, D(-) lactate, palmitic acid and isopalmitic acid] were not effective. We postulate that thiol-containing breakdown products of proteins, via catalysis by bacterial proteases, could be one mechanism by which MNNG or other carcinogens are deactivated in the gut lumen resulting in reduced damage to colonic mucosal cells.[1]


  1. Bacteria used for the production of yogurt inactivate carcinogens and prevent DNA damage in the colon of rats. Wollowski, I., Ji, S.T., Bakalinsky, A.T., Neudecker, C., Pool-Zobel, B.L. J. Nutr. (1999) [Pubmed]
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