Lactococcus lactis

  • What is Lactococcus lactis?

 Lactococcus lactis is known as a bacterium that’s Gram-positive. It is used in the industry for the production of cheese and buttermilk. Lately, it was utilized as a genetically modified organism for treating various diseases. It’s the first alive organism used for this purpose.

 If the bacterium is put into milk, it breaks down the lactose into energy molecules, ATP, with the help of various enzymes. The ATP’s byproduct is called lactic acid. This one is useful for coagulating the milk and then forming the curds that produce whey and cheese.

Moreover, Lactococcus lactis can be utilized for preparing fermented foods like sausages, breads, wine, beer and pickled vegetables. Many specialists stated that understanding and using the genetic and physiology functions of this bacterium would be extremely valuable for the pharmaceutical and food industries. The bacterium could be used to produce many beneficial drugs as well.

  • Health benefits

Lactococcus lactis, commonly known as L. lactis, can be found in the gastrointestinal tract, the hair and the skin of animals and on various plant surfaces. On the plant, L. lactis has an inactive form. The multiplying process begins when the bacterium enters the gastrointestinal tract of the animal.

L. lactis is mainly used by the dairy industry in order to ferment the cheese. The soft cheeses usually have this bacterium as a primary ingredient. Many people all around the world ingest these bacteria when consuming cheese. Reports say that cheese is produced annually in a quantity of more than 10 million tons. As mentioned before, it’s also useful for producing pickled vegetables, wine and beer.

Recently, Lactococcus lactis entered the biomedical area. It was soon discovered that the bacterium can be a delivery vector for the immune modulatory and therapeutic proteins and also for antigens. Animal and in vitro studies confirmed this beneficial fact. Further tests proved that the interleukin which contains L. lactis can treat and prevent the IBD or the inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, the medical use of L. lactis that’s genetically modified might evolve in the upcoming years.

The Lactococcus lactis has a safety profile. Therefore, it can be seen as a safe delivery vector. Moreover, the bacterium is non-commensal and non-invasive. It doesn’t colonize the bowel and the colon and doesn’t have any side effects or immunotolerance if it’s used for a long time. Other specialists discovered that the L. lactis is very much alike other delivery systems, the microparticle vaccines. These reach the intestinal mucosa, where the microfold cells take them up.

  • Medical benefits

For centuries, people consumed the L. lactis bacterium by ingesting various fermented foods.  This is the safest way to take this bacterium and benefit from its properties. In order to produce various proteins, the L. lactis is genetically engineered. Many studies were conducted so as to observe this particular feature. Most of them tried to see if the genetically engineered bacterium can generate vectors able to protect the mucosal tissues with therapeutic proteins. One specific trial had shown that the L. lactis can produce interleukin-10, that’s helpful for Crohn’s disease.

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