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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in determining the impact of health-promoting components in foods including those containing probiotic bacteria. A set of preliminary studies done in Medellin and Bogota, Colombia showed a reduction in Bifidobacterium species in children with diarrhea compared to healthy controls. A more complete clinical diagnosis of the etiology of the diarrhea is needed to support feeding selected probiotics that enhance health-promoting microflora in the intestine. The project plan has one objective that directly relates to this agreement: 1)To elucidate the mechanisms used by probiotic bacteria to improve respiratory and intestinal mucosal responses to allergens, and correlate intestinal microflora composition of pigs and humans with biomarkers of allergic and intestinal disease. The COOPERATOR has received approval from the Ethics Committee from Universidad Javeriana and funding through Banco de la Republica to measure differences in intestinal microflora in children with diarrhea compared to healthy controls. Microflora changes will be tracked by real-time PCR using specific probes for the most common bacterial pathogens (E. coli, Salmonella spp., C. difficile) and viral pathogens such as rotavirus and coronaviruses. Both ARS and the Cooperator will evaluate the modulating effect of probiotic bacteria in children.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will acquire processed clinical samples from the Cooperator (nucleic acids from fecal samples) to validate previous results found in two independent cohort studies with children. This information will be used by both ARS and the Cooperator to jointly develop new research studies that specifically focus on the evaluation of probiotic intervention to prevent onset of diarrhea.

3. Progress Report:
Fecal DNA from children with clinical diarrhea was used to molecularly assess the abundance of commensal bacterial species and presence of enteric pathogens. Overall abundance of inherent Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species was inversely correlated with the incidence of diarrhea. These results suggest that a targeted prophylactic intervention with dietary probiotic from Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus species may restitute the dysbiosis present in children with clinical diarrhea.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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