In this issue


Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 1

Vertical Transmission, March 2003

This issue contains important information about the Joint ASM/NZMS conference which will be held at the Aotea Centre in Auckland from the 28 September to 2 October 2003. This promises to be an excellent conference and also a great opportunity to visit Auckland and New Zealand and sample some Kiwi hospitality. At our last joint meeting in Cairns the Kiwi girls did the Haka, so the challenge has been made.

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From the new editor

There have been a number of changes in the team producing Microbiology Australia this year. Corinne Rann, who has edited the journal for the last 3 years, has resigned due to pressure of other commitments. Corinne has done an excellent job and the editorial board and ASM members thank her for her dedication and the excellent journal she has produced. I have now taken over from Corinne and look forward to continuing the tradition of previous editors in providing a top quality journal for ASM members.

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The ?good? bacteria ? healthy gut foods

The idea of ingesting beneficial bacteria in order to maintain a healthy microbial balance in the gut was first proposed by Elie Metchnikoff in 1907, although fermented milk products have been consumed by humans for perhaps thousands of years. The term ?probiotics? was coined relatively recently (1957) to describe these health promoting microorganisms. These bacteria, which at present consist predominantly of members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera, are now often added to yoghurts in addition to the traditional yoghurt bacteria....

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Probiotics ? how effective are they?

For most of the last century lactobacilli and bifidobacteria have been actively promoted as being beneficial to health. Most of the time, evidence for their benefits has been limited to anecdotal recordings. Only since the 1980s have there been well-designed animal experiments and human clinical trials conducted on probiotic bacteria. Unfortunately, the health professionals? view of probiotics is based on the mystique and chicanery used in earlier days to market probiotics. Marketing of this kind is still commonplace. However, research conducte...

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Immunologic effects of probiotics and human health

The human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) harbours an extremely complex and diverse microbial ecosystem representing over 500 different species. While a majority of indigenous bacteria are benign or beneficial, some possess the potential to cause disease; in healthy individuals, a balance exists between these populations. In addition to nutritional and barrier functions, the intestinal microflora plays an important role in guiding the development of a balanced immune system and maintaining gut homeostasis. Perturbations in the microbial homeostasi...

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Probiotics in aquaculture

Aquaculture, especially prawn (shrimp) culture, is a major and rapidly increasing source of income in the agribusiness sector of tropical countries. Although probiotic bacteria are being used in aquaculture, there is scope, and indeed a need, for them to be used much more widely as replacements for antibiotics.

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Probiotics: issues of credibility and safety

People have believed for more than a century that live microorganisms in foods may benefit human health. More recently, probiotics have appealed to consumers who want nutritional products with added health attributes. The demonstration of efficacy in probiotics thus offers vast opportunities for the development of human and veterinary products. However, the addition of novel bacterial strains to foods and therapeutic products presents a challenge in safety assessment for regulatory authorities. Probiotic products which claim specific nutritiona...

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Probiotics and Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea

Clostridium difficile is now recognised as the major cause of hospital acquired infectious diarrhoea. Data from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) in Perth, Western Australia, is typical of many similar hospitals in developed countries. SCGH is a 600 bed adult university teaching hospital. During the period 1983 to 1992, C. difficile was detected in 917 patients who were being investigated for diarrhoeal illness. Up to 120 patients a year were infected, most of these being elderly females. Incidence rates increased from 23/100,000 occupied be...

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Media for enumerating probiotic bacteria

Organisms classed as probiotic bacteria and currently used in predominantly dairy or soy-based manufactured products include species of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. This article details the media and methods used for the enumeration of the species that are currently used in commercially produced drinks and fermented foods.

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Protecting probiotics by microencapsulation

Probiotics are live bacteria which transit the gastrointestinal tract and in doing so benefit the health of the consumer. An approach currently receiving considerable interest is the provision of a physical barrier against adverse environmental conditions for the living probiotic cells. In the past, microorganisms were immobilised or entrapped in polymer matrices for use in bio-technological applications. The physical retention of the cells in the matrix facilitated the separation of the cells from their metabolites. As the technique of immobil...

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Development of the LAFTI range of probiotic cultures

Probiotics are mono or mixed cultures of live microorganisms which, when applied to man or animal, beneficially affect the host by improving the properties of the indigenous microflora. Some of the beneficial effects that a probiotic culture can have on its host include improved digestion and absorption of various nutrients (e.g. lactose, starch), production of vitamins and growth factors, protection against pathogens, stimulation of the immune response, reduction of cholesterol levels and reduction of diarrhoea.

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A fresh look at faeces

The large bowel of humans is home to a complex bacterial community. Most of our microbiological knowledge of this community has been derived from the examination of faeces. The faecal microflora is, at the least, representative of the microbiology of the distal large bowel, and obtaining faeces for examination is relatively easy and does not require the use of invasive methods.

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Adventures with mucus and Stubby: Life amongst the helicobacters

The following article is based on the Rubbo Oration that I was honoured to present at the 2002 Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne.

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ASM Affairs, March 2003

Rubbo Oration 2002 Adventures with mucus and Stubby: Life amongst the helicobacters; Young Bugs Banter; The ASM awards and prizes; Awards

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