Synbiotics are food supplements that combine probiotics and prebiotics to synergistically elicit a health effect in humans. Lactobacillus plantarum exhibits remarkable genetic and phenotypic diversity, in particular in strain-specific carbohydrate utilization capacities, and several strains are marketed as probiotics. We have screened 77 L. plantarum strains for their abilities to utilize specific prebiotic fibers, revealing variable and strain-specific growth efficiencies on isomalto-and galactooligosaccharides. We identified a single strain within the screening panel that was able to effectively utilize inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which did not support efficient growth of the rest of the strains. In the panel we tested, we did not find strains that could utilize arabinoxylooligosaccharides or sulfated fucoidan. The strainspecific growth phenotype on isomaltooligosaccharides was further analyzed using high-performance anion-exchange chromatography, which revealed distinct substrate utilization phenotypes within the strain panel. The strain-specific phenotypes could be linked to the strains' genotypes by identifying gene clusters coding for carbohydrate membrane transport systems that are predicted to be involved in the utilization of isomaltose and other (unidentified) oligosaccharides in the isomaltooligosaccharide substrate.
- Gene-trait matching
- Lactobacillus plantarum