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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389280

Title: The effect of tannin-rich witch hazel on growth of probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum

item Rasooly, Reuven
item HOWARD, ALEX - University Of Massachusetts, Amherst
item BALABAN, NAOMI - Framingham State College
item Hernlem, Bradley - Brad
item APOSTOLIDIS, EMMANOUIL - Framingham State College

Submitted to: Antibiotics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2022
Publication Date: 3/16/2022
Citation: Rasooly, R., Howard, A., Balaban, N., Hernlem, B.J., Apostolidis, E. 2022. The effect of tannin-rich witch hazel on growth of probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum. Antibiotics. 11(3). Article 395.

Interpretive Summary: Probiotics help keep our gut healthy and regular and compete with bacteria that make us sick. However, it can be hard to keep that advantage in the face of changes in what we eat, stress and antibiotic use, among other things. Witch hazel that is rich in a substance called Hamamelitannin (WH) is known to slow the growth of certain bacteria and their ability to make people sick. In this study we looked at how WH affected the growth of a probiotic bacteria and its ability to form a “biofilm” that helps them survive. We did this under conditions that make it easy for bacteria to grow and also under poor conditions. Interestingly, while WH helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and their ability to make us sick, with the probiotic bacteria we found that it helped it to grow under poor conditions and maintained it under good conditions. Also, a biofilm formed with WH and the amount increased with amount of WH in either growth condition. The results point to a beneficial effect of WH to promote “good” over “bad” gut bacteria and the health of the consumer.

Technical Abstract: Probiotic bacteria help maintain microbiome homeostasis and promote gut health. Maintaining the competitive advantage of the probiotics over pathogenic bacteria is a challenge, as they are part of the gut microbiome that is continuously exposed to digestive and nutritional changes and various stressors. Witch hazel that is rich in hamamelitannin (WH, whISOBAXTM) is an inhibitor of growth and virulence of pathogenic bacteria. To test for its effect on probiotic bacteria, WH was tested on the growth and biofilm formation of a commercially available probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum PS128. As these bacteria are aerotolerant, the experiments were carried out aerobically and in nutritionally inadequate/poor (nutrient broth) or adequate/rich (MRS broth) conditions. Interestingly, despite its negative effect on the growth and biofilm formation of pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, WH promotes the growth of the probiotic bacteria in a nutritionally inadequate environment while maintaining their growth under a nutritionally rich environment. In the absence of WH, no significant biofilm is formed on the surfaces tested (polystyrene and alginate), but in the presence of WH, biofilm formation was significantly enhanced. These results indicate that WH may thus be used to enhance the growth and survival of probiotics.