Using a flow cytometry-based approach, we assessed the viability of Bifidobacterium lactis DSM 10140 and Bifidobacterium adolescentis DSM 20083 during exposure to bile salt stress. Carboxyfluorescein diacetate (cFDA), propidium iodide (PI), and oxonol [DiBAC4(3)] were used to monitor esterase activity, membrane integrity, and membrane potential, respectively, as indicators of bacterial viability. Single staining with these probes rapidly and noticeably reflected the behavior of the two strains during stress exposure. However, the flow cytometry results tended to overestimate the viability of the two strains compared to plate counts, which appeared to be related to the nonculturability of a fraction of the population as a result of sublethal injury caused by bile salts. When the cells were simultaneously stained with cFDA and PI, flow cytometry and cell sorting revealed a striking physiological heterogeneity within the stressed bifidobacterium population. Three subpopulations could be identified based on their differential uptake of the probes: cF-stained, cF and PI double-stained, and PI-stained subpopulations, representing viable, injured, and dead cells, respectively. Following sorting and recovery, a significant fraction of the double-stained subpopulation (40€could resume growth on agar plates. Our results show that in situ assessment of the physiological activity of stressed bifidobacteria using multiparameter flow cytometry and cell sorting may provide a powerful and sensitive tool for assessment of the viability and stability of probiotics.
|Journal||Applied and Environmental Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|