Jun. 09, 2020


Can a probiotic made from a strain of bacteria found in Chinese pickles prevent cavities? According to a new study by a team of Chinese and Israeli researchers, yes, it can.

The most common disease of the oral cavity, known as dental caries (cavities), is caused by Streptococcus mutans, the most prominent of a consortium of bacterium. This bacterium is found on people's teeth as biofilm (plaque) and known to cause cavities. Extracting strains of Lactobacilli from Sichuan pickles, the researchers discovered that S. mutans was reduced by 98.4%.

Their findings were published in Frontiers in Microbiology in late April.


The research team started with 14 types of Sichuan pickles from southwest China. They extracted 54 different strains of Lactobacilli and found that one, L. plantarum K41, reduced the incidence and severity of cavities quite significantly. That particular strain was also highly tolerant of acids and salts. Subsequent analysis in vitro and in vivo bore out the efficacy of this bacteria strain as a potential for probiotics.

His colleagues from China included: Guojian Zhang of the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Light Industry, Textile and Food Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China; Miao Lu, Viet Ha Vu and Yuqing Li of the State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, Department of Cariology and Endodonics, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China; and Rongmei Liu, Yuanyuan Tian, Yang Li, Bao Liu, and Qun Sun of the Key Laboratory of Bio-resources & Eco-environment of the Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.

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