Intrinsic and inducible resistance to hydrogen peroxide in Bifidobacterium species

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Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology







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Interest in, and use of, bifidobacteria as a probiotic delivered in functional foods has increased dramatically in recent years. As a result of their anaerobic nature, oxidative stress can pose a major challenge to maintaining viability of bifidobacteria during functional food storage. To better understand the oxidative stress response in two industrially important bifidobacteria species, we examined the response of three strains of B. longum and three strains of B. animalis subsp. lactis to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Each strain was exposed to a range of H2O2 concentrations (0–10 mM) to evaluate and compare intrinsic resistance to H2O2. Next, strains were tested for the presence of an inducible oxidative stress response by exposure to a sublethal H2O2 concentration for 20 or 60 min followed by challenge at a lethal H2O2 concentration. Results showed B. longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 had the highest level of intrinsic H2O2 resistance of all strains tested and B. animalis subsp. lactis BL-04 had the highest resistance among B. lactis strains. Inducible H2O2 resistance was detected in four strains, B. longum NCC2705, B. longum D2957, B. lactis RH-1, and B. lactis BL-04. Other strains showed either no difference or increased sensitivity to H2O2 after induction treatments. These data indicate that intrinsic and inducible resistance to hydrogen peroxide is strain specific in B. longum and B. lactis and suggest that for some strains, sublethal H2O2 treatments might help increase cell resistance to oxidative damage during production and storage of probiotic-containing foods.

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