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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri biofilms produce antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory factors

Sara E Jones13 and James Versalovic23*

Author affiliations

1 Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

3 Department of Pathology, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-35

Published: 11 February 2009



Commensal-derived probiotic bacteria inhibit enteric pathogens and regulate host immune responses in the gastrointestinal tract, but studies examining specific functions of beneficial microbes in the context of biofilms have been limited in scope.


Lactobacillus reuteri formed biofilms that retained functions potentially advantageous to the host including modulation of cytokine output and the production of the antimicrobial agent, reuterin. Immunomodulatory activities of biofilms were demonstrated by the abilities of specific L. reuteri strains to suppress human TNF production by LPS-activated monocytoid cells. Quantification of the antimicrobial glycerol derivative, reuterin, was assessed in order to document the antipathogenic potential of probiotic biofilms. L. reuteri biofilms differed in the quantities of reuterin secreted in this physiological state.


L. reuteri biofilms secreted factors that confer specific health benefits such as immunomodulation and pathogen inhibition. Future probiotic selection strategies should consider a strain's ability to perform beneficial functions as a biofilm.