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Screening of Lactobacillus spp. for the prevention of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pulmonary infections

Youenn Alexandre1, Rozenn Le Berre12*, Georges Barbier3 and Gwenaelle Le Blay34

Author Affiliations

1 Université de Brest, EA 3882-Laboratoire Universitaire de Biodiversité et d’Écologie Microbienne (LUBEM), Faculté de Médecine, 22 avenue Camille Desmoulins, 29200 Brest, France

2 Département de Médecine Interne et Pneumologie, CHRU La Cavale-Blanche, 29200 Brest, France

3 Université de Brest, EA 3882-Laboratoire Universitaire de Biodiversité et d’Écologie Microbienne (LUBEM), Parvis Blaise Pascal, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France

4 Université de Brest, CNRS, IFREMER, UMR 6197-Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Environnement Extrêmes (LMEE), Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Place Nicolas Copernic, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:107  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-107

Published: 27 April 2014



Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that significantly increases morbidity and mortality in nosocomial infections and cystic fibrosis patients. Its pathogenicity especially relies on the production of virulence factors or resistances to many antibiotics. Since multiplication of antibiotic resistance can lead to therapeutic impasses, it becomes necessary to develop new tools for fighting P. aeruginosa infections. The use of probiotics is one of the ways currently being explored. Probiotics are microorganisms that exert a positive effect on the host’s health and some of them are known to possess antibacterial activities. Since most of their effects have been shown in the digestive tract, experimental data compatible with the respiratory environment are strongly needed. The main goal of this study was then to test the capacity of lactobacilli to inhibit major virulence factors (elastolytic activity and biofilm formation) associated with P. aeruginosa pathogenicity.


Sixty-seven lactobacilli were isolated from the oral cavities of healthy volunteers. These isolates together with 20 lactobacilli isolated from raw milks, were tested for their capacity to decrease biofilm formation and activity of the elastase produced by P. aeruginosa PAO1. Ten isolates, particularly efficient, were accurately identified using a polyphasic approach (API 50 CHL, mass-spectrometry and 16S/rpoA/pheS genes sequencing) and typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The 8 remaining strains belonging to the L. fermentum (6), L. zeae (1) and L. paracasei (1) species were sensitive to all antibiotics tested with the exception of the intrinsic resistance to vancomycin. The strains were all able to grow in artificial saliva.


Eight strains belonging to L. fermentum, L. zeae and L. paracasei species harbouring anti-elastase and anti-biofilm properties are potential probiotics for fighting P. aeruginosa pulmonary infections. However, further studies are needed in order to test their innocuity and their capacity to behave such as an oropharyngeal barrier against Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonisation in vivo.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Lactobacillus; Probiotics; Organic acids; Biofilm formation; Elastolytic activity