The aim of this work was to evaluate presence and properties of lactic acid bacteria in the faeces of 240 volunteers with various nutrition habits (vegetarians versus meat-eaters). Lactic acid bacteria counts in all age groups were nearly 5 or 6 logarithmic orders. Significantly higher amounts were found in women. Subsequently, based on the age and dietary pattern of probands, four samples were selected for isolation of lactic acid bacteria and identification of isolates in order to assign them to bacterial species. About 80 lactic acid bacteria were isolated from the faeces of young (21-30 years) and older (51-60 years) vegetarians and meateaters. The identification of the isolates was based on their morphological and biochemical characteristics. Isolates belong to lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, enterococci and propionibacteria. Surprisingly, bifidobacteria were predominated in older age group. The following probiotic properties were determined: survival at low pH value, and bile salt hydrolase activity. All strains were negative in bile salt hydrolase activity, but their growth was not inhibited in the presence of bile. The results from the study of survival at low pH value showed considerable variability in both dietary groups regardless the age of probands. However, it can be concluded, that bacteria isolated from the samples of older probands were more sensitive to acid pH.
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