Probiotics are actively used for treatment of diarrhoea, respiratory infections, and prevention of infectious gastrointestinal diseases. The efficacy of probiotics is due to strain-specific features and the number of viable cells; however, several reports of deviations from the label in the actual content of strains in probiotic products are a matter of concern. Most of the available data on quality focuses on probiotic products containing lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria, while very few data are available on spore-forming probiotics. The present study evaluates the label claims for spore count and species identification in five commercial probiotic products marketed in India and Pakistan that claim to contain Bacillus clausii: Tufpro, Ecogro, Enterogermina, Entromax, and Ospor. Bacterial enumeration from three batches was done by microbiological plating methods by two independent operators. Species identification was done using PCR amplification and sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene, and determination of the total amount of species present in the products was done using PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis followed by DNA sequencing of the excised bands. Plate count methods demonstrated poor correlations between quantitative label indications and bacteria recovered from plates for Tufpro, Ecogro, and Ospor. The 16S rRNA analysis performed on bacteria isolated from plate counts showed that only Enterogermina and Ospor contained homogenous B. clausii. PCR-DGGE analysis revealed that only Enterogermina had a homogenous B. clausii population while other products had mixed bacterial populations. In conclusion, the current analysis clearly demonstrates that of the five analysed commercial probiotics, only Enterogermina followed the label claims.
- 16S rRNA
- Bacillus clausii
- Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
- Repetitive sequence-based PCR