Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. The main probiotic bacteria are strains belonging to the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, although other representatives, such as Bacillus or Escherichia coli strains, have also been used. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two common inhabitants of the human intestinal microbiota. Also, some species are used in food fermentation processes as starters, or as adjunct cultures in the food industry. With some exceptions, antibiotic resistance in these beneficial microbes does not constitute a safety concern in itself, when mutations or intrinsic resistance mechanisms are responsible for the resistance phenotype. In fact, some probiotic strains with intrinsic antibiotic resistance could be useful for restoring the gut microbiota after antibiotic treatment. However, specific antibiotic resistance determinants carried on mobile genetic elements, such as tetracycline resistance genes, are often detected in the typical probiotic genera, and constitute a reservoir of resistance for potential food or gut pathogens, thus representing a serious safety issue.
Keywords: probiotics, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacillus, antibiotic resistance
Citation: Gueimonde M, Sánchez B, de los Reyes-Gavilán CG and Margolles A (2013) Antibiotic resistance in probiotic bacteria. Front. Microbiol. 4:202. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00202
Received: 28 March 2013; Paper pending published: 17 April 2013;
Accepted: 28 June 2013; Published online: 18 July 2013.
Edited by:Henk Aarts, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Netherlands
Reviewed by:Atte Von Wright, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Copyright: © 2013 Gueimonde, Sánchez, de los Reyes-Gavilán and Margolles. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Abelardo Margolles, Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Paseo Río Linares s/n, 33300 Villaviciosa, Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org