What is a probiotic strain?

All microorganisms (e.g., virus, bacterium or fungus) are divided into families, genus, species and strains. Different strains represent genetic variability within a species.

A bacteria strain is a population of bacteria that descends from a single individual or pure culture. Bacteria of the same strain have certain characteristics that differentiate them from bacteria of other strains.

Read more about BioGaia's probiotic strains

 

Importance of strain specificity

Lactic acid bacteria are divided into families, genus, species and strains. Different probiotic products contain different probiotic strains. This means that one probiotic product with Lactobacillus reuteri (for example L. reuteri NCIMB 30242) is not equal to another probiotic product that contains another strain of Lactobacillus reuteri (for example L. reuteri DSM 17938). This is why bacteria must be distinguished and tested in clinical trials at strain level.

An example from a completely different area, cheese, could be used to clarify the system. Different strains of the same bacteria may have different characteristics, just like a Brie de Maux differs from a Camenbert, even though both are white mold cheeses.

When talking about lactic acid bacteria we need to clarify which strain we refer to, because the fact that a product contains “lactic acid bacteria” or “L. reuteri” is not enough. Only by including the strain name, such as L. reuteri DSM 17938, we are specific about exactly which probiotic bacteria we are referring to and we can know what benefits to expect. A probiotic bacteria must be defined and tested in clinical trials on strain level.

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