Wet Vs Dry Bacteria
In any culture medium there is a limit to the density of bacteria that can be grown. A typical lactobacillus species in a rich broth, such as MRS-broth, will grow to a density in the region of 2E9 colony forming units per ml (cfu/ml). The growth of the bacteria is limited to some extent by availability of nutrients and physical space, but the build-up of lactic acid, and other metabolites, will eventually lead to strong inhibition of growth. The culture will then enter a relatively inactive stationary phase, and subsequently start to lose viability.
In Symprove, the density of bacteria is lower than the maximum achievable density. Rather, a balance is achieved by controlling the availability of nutrients, the temperature and pH, such that a state is achieved close to equilibrium. In this state, bacterial metabolism is reduced to just above maintenance or 'tick-over' levels, and the rate of cell multiplication is very close to the rate of cell death. Thus Symprove contains a relatively stable viable population with a slow but active metabolism.
In a liquid culture, the major constituent is water. If cultures of bacteria, containing for example 2E9 cfu/ml, are lyophilised (freeze-dried), then the resulting density of bacteria can be in the order of 2E11 cfu/g. Therefore, lyophilised preparations of bacteria can be approximately 100 times more concentrated than liquid cultures.
A Matter of fitness for function
At a glance, it may seem more beneficial to use lyophilised bacteria than liquid cultures, purely in terms of number. 1g of a lyophilised preparation containing 5E10 cfu/g will deliver the same number of bacteria as 100ml of Symprove. However, the colony counts only measure whether the cells are alive or dead, they do not give an indication of the fitness and resilience of the bacteria. If a bacterial preparation is to function as a probiotic then it must survive and multiply in the GI tract. The stomach and intestines represent a very hostile environment and the bacteria need to be resilient in order to survive and multiply. This is where the metabolically active bacteria in Symprove have an advantage over lyophilised bacteria.
Probiotic classification (general)
Genus. Genus is the broadest classification based on physical characteristics. One of the most dominant genera in the gastrointestinal system is Lactobacillus.
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