Adhesion of bifidobacteria to granular starch and its implications in probiotic technologies

Ross Crittenden (Corresponding Author), Arja Laitila, Pirkko Forssell, Jaana Mättö, Maria Saarela, Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Päivi Myllärinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    179 Citations (Scopus)


    Adhesion of 19 Bifidobacterium strains to native maize, potato, oat, and barley starch granules was examined to investigate links between adhesion and substrate utilization and to determine if adhesion to starch could be exploited in probiotic food technologies. Starch adhesion was not characteristic of all the bifidobacteria tested. Adherent bacteria bound similarly to the different types of starch, and the binding capacity of the starch (number of bacteria per gram) correlated to the surface area of the granules. Highly adherent strains were able to hydrolyze the granular starches, but not all amylolytic strains were adherent, indicating that starch adhesion is not a prerequisite for efficient substrate utilization for all bifidobacteria. Adhesion was mediated by a cell surface protein(s). For the model organisms tested (Bifidobacterium adolescentis VTT E-001561 and Bifidobacterium pseudolongum ATCC 25526), adhesion appeared to be specific for α-1,4-linked glucose sugars, since adhesion was inhibited by maltose, maltodextrin, amylose, and soluble starch but not by trehalose, cellobiose, or lactose. In an in vitro gastric model, adhesion was inhibited both by the action of protease and at pH values of ≤3. Adhesion was not affected by bile, but the binding capacity of the starch was reduced by exposure to pancreatin. It may be possible to exploit adhesion of probiotic bifidobacteria to starch granules in microencapsulation technology and for synbiotic food applications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3469-3475
    Number of pages7
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2001
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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