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Probiotic Potential And Cholesterol-Lowering Capabilities Of Bacterial Strains Isolated From Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae ‘Chachiensis’

Qianxian He, Jingyu Li, Yongkai Ma, Qi Chen, Gu Chen

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Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae ‘Chachiensis’ (PCR-Chachiensis), the pericarps of Citri Reticulatae Blanco cv. Chachiensis, is a food condiment and traditional medicine in southeast and eastern Asia. Its rich and various bacterial community awaits exploration. The present study is the first report on probiotic screening and characterization of bacteria from PCR-Chachiensis. Based on 64 culturable bacterial isolates, 8 strains were screened out to have great survival in the simulated gastrointestinal stressful condition, being nonhemolytic and without biogenic amine formation. They were identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing as two Bacillus, three Lactobacillus, and three strains from Bacillales. Their probiotic properties, cholesterol-lowering potential and carbohydrate utilization capability were further investigated. Though these eight strains all displayed distinct cholesterol removal potential, Bacillus licheniformis N17-02 showed both remarkable cholesterol removal capability and presence of bile salt hydrolase gene, as well as possessing most of the desirable probiotic attributes. Thus, it could be a good probiotic candidate with hypocholesterolemic potential. Bacillus megaterium N17-12 displayed the widest carbohydrate utilization profile and the strongest antimicrobial activity. Hence, it was promising to be used as a probiotic in a host and as a fermentation starter in fermented food or feed.