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Cholesterol removal capability of lactic acid bacteria and related cell membrane fatty acid modifications

Remagni, Maria Chiara, Paladino, Maria, Locci, Francesco, Romeo, Flora V., Zago, Miriam, Povolo, Milena, Contarini, Giovanna, Carminati, Domenico
Folia microbiologica 2013 v.58 no.6 pp. 443-449
cell membranes, cholesteremic effect, cholesterol, fatty acid composition, fatty acids, fermented dairy products, healthy diet, lactic acid bacteria, membrane fluidity, metabolism, milk, nutritive value
Milk and dairy products play an important role in a healthy diet because of their high nutritional value, even if they represent a source of lipids and cholesterol. Nowadays, some commercially hypocholesterolemic products are available, which contain lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Therefore, the aims of this study were to test and compare the cholesterol removal abilities of different LAB species and to investigate the capacity of the cholesterol to change the cellular fatty acid composition of microorganisms. Fifty-eight strains of dairy LAB were studied for their ability to remove cholesterol during 24 h of growth. Two of them, L. plantarum 885 and L. acidophilus LA-5®, showed the higher reduction capability. For these strains, the cellular fatty acid composition was studied. They showed a different behaviour, which appeared related to the needs of the cells to maintain the characteristics of membrane fluidity, but was dependent upon their original fatty acid composition. Further studies are required to better characterise the LAB strains to be used to develop fermented dairy products with reduced cholesterol content or be able to induce hypocholesterolemic effects. It will also be interesting to investigate the possible modifications of the cell membrane caused by cholesterol and its possible involvement in cell metabolism.