Probiotics interaction with foodborne pathogens: a potential alternative to antibiotics and future challenges

Murphy Lam Yim Wan, Stephen J. Forsythe, Hani El-Nezami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibiotics are a key tool used nowadays in health care industry to fight against bacterial infections; however, repeated antibiotic use or misuses, have led to bacterial resistance, causing significant threats for many people with common bacterial infections. The use of probiotics to enhance gastrointestinal health has been proposed for many years. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the use of probiotic bacteria as alternatives for antibiotics for preventing or treating various intestinal infections. Several important underlying mechanisms responsible for the antagonistic effects of probiotics on different microorganisms include: (1) competitive exclusion for adhesion sites and nutritional sources; (2) secretion of antimicrobial substances; (3) enhancement of intestinal barrier function; and (4) immunomodulation. However, their mode of action is not very well understood and therefore a clearer understanding of these mechanisms is necessitated. This will enable appropriate probiotic strains to be selected for particular applications and may reveal new probiotic functions. The goal of this review was to highlight some studies from literature describing the probiotic interaction with several major foodborne pathogens, as well as explore the mechanisms for such probiotic-pathogen interaction. The review will conclude by presenting future perspective and challenges of probiotic application in food products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3320-3333
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number20
Early online date5 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2019


  • antibiotic resistance
  • bacterial infection
  • foodborne pathogens
  • mechanisms of action
  • probiotics


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