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Beneficial bacteria may help ward off infection

While many bacteria exist as aggressive pathogens, causing diseases ranging from tuberculosis and cholera, to plague, diphtheria and toxic shock syndrome, others play a less malevolent role and some are critical for human health.

In a new study, Cheryl Nickerson and her group at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, in collaboration with an international team* including Tom Van de Wiele and lead author Rosemarie De Weirdt at Ghent University, Belgium, explore the role of Lactobaccilus reuteri—a natural resident of the human gut—to protect against foodborne infection.

Their results demonstrate that this beneficial or probiotic organism, which produces an antimicrobial substance known as reuterin, may protect intestinal epithelial cells from infection by the foodborne bacterial pathogen Salmonella.

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