Bacteria from the Lactobacillus reuteri species are gram-positive, rod-shaped, and anaerobic microorganisms which form chain arrangements, and do not produce endospores. The Lactobacillus reuteri species typically produces carbon dioxide, ethanol, acetate, and lactic acid from glucose fermentation, and these bacteria are also particularly good at producing the nutrients folate and vitamin B12; however, this species is most noted for producing a compound called reuterin via the fermentation of glycerol. Reuterin is a potent antimicrobial affecting both gram positive and gram negative bacteria, which helps to aid the survival of L. reuteri bacteria by discouraging other species in their environment. It appears to be so effective as an antimicrobial due to the fact that it has been shown to inhibit ribonucleotide reductase, an enzyme crucial for DNA synthesis, which plays an essential role in the growth and multiplication of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and viruses. The Lactobacillus reuteri species is therefore known to help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, fungi and protozoa in its host, and due to these properties, it is believed to be a promising therapy for helping to alleviate or reduce certain illnesses related to gastrointestinal, urogenital and oral health.
As the properties & benefits of probiotics are strain-specific, this database provides even more detailed information at the level of the strain.
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Talarico T.L. & Dobrogosz W.J., (1989), ‘Chemical characterization of an antimicrobial substance produced by Lactobacillus reuteri’. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 33(5):674-9.