Evaluation of reuterin production in urogenital probiotic lactobacillus reuteri rc-14

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Classified as a distinct species in 1980, Lactobacillus reuteri strains have been used in probiotic formulations for intestinal and urogenital applications. In the former, the primary mechanism of action of L. reuteri SD2112 (ATCC 55730) has been purported to be its ability to produce the antibiotic 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde (3-HPA), also known as reuterin. In the vagina, it has been postulated that probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 does not require reuterin production but mediates a restoration of the normal microbiota via hydrogen peroxide, biosurfactant, lactic acid production, and immune modulation. The aim of the present study was to determine whether strain RC-14 produced reuterin. Using PCR and DNA dot blot analyses, numerous Lactobacillus species, including RC-14, were screened for the presence of the gene encoding the large subunit of glycerol dehydratase (gldC), the enzyme responsible for reuterin production. In addition, lactobacilli were grown in glycerol-based media and both high-performance liquid chromatography and a colorimetric assay were used to test for the presence of reuterin. L. reuteri RC-14 was determined to be negative for gldC sequences, as well as for the production of reuterin when cultured in the presence of glycerol. These findings support that the probiotic effects of L. reuteri RC-14, repeatedly demonstrated during numerous studies of the intestine and vagina, are independent of reuterin production.

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