An in vitro enrichment strategy for formulating synergistic synbiotics

Car Reen Kok, David Fabian Gomez Quintero, Clement Niyirora, Devin Rose, Amanda Li, Robert Hutkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Research on the role of diet on gut and systemic health has led to considerable interest toward identifying novel therapeutic modulators of the gut microbiome, including the use of prebiotics and probiotics. However, various host responses have often been reported among many clinical trials. This is in part due to competitive exclusion as a result of the absence of ecological niches as well as hostmediated constraints via colonization resistance. In this research, we developed a novel in vitro enrichment (IVE) method for isolating autochthonous strains that can function as synergistic synbiotics and overcome these constraints. The method relied on stepwise in vitro fecal fermentations to enrich for and isolate Bifidobacterium strains that ferment the prebiotic xylooligosaccharide (XOS). We subsequently isolated Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum CR15 and then tested its establishment in 20 unique fecal samples with or without XOS. The strain was established in up to 18 samples but only in the presence of XOS. Our findings revealed that the IVE method is suitable for isolating potential synergistic probiotic strains that possess the genetic and biochemical ability to ferment specific prebiotic substrates. The IVE method can be used as an initial high-throughput screen for probiotic selection and isolation prior to further characterization and in vivo tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01073-19
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Bifidobacteria
  • Prebiotic
  • Probiotic
  • Synbiotic
  • Xylooligosaccharide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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