Leuconostoc mesenteroides - From Beneficial Bacteria to Probiotic

Leuconostoc mesenteroides (L. mesenteroides) are beneficial bacteria you may not have heard about before, but their time for entry into the probiotics world has come.

If you are a vegetable fermentationist, then you are familiar with L. mesenteroides even if you don't realize it.

Leuconostoc mesenteroides is a Gram-positive bacterium in the Firmicutes phylum. It is non-motile, meaning it is incapable of moving on its own, and it is non-sporeforming. It shares the same order as the Lactobacillus, the Lactobacillales order, but from there the two bacteria differ. It is in the Leuconostocaceae family.

The type strain, the one all other strains are compared to, is L. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides ATCC 8293.There are 4 different subspecies, cremoris, dextranicum, mesenteroides, and suionicum. As a species, it is a facultative anaerobe.

These bacteria are generally spherical-shaped and form chains or pairs. They are one of the types of bacteria that help to make sauerkraut, some cheeses and kefir what they are, and are critical to such fermentations.

Is Leuconostoc mesenteroides Dangerous?

Although these bacteria are capable of causing rare infections in immune-compromised persons, they are generally known as beneficial bacteria. One case study that involved human deaths determined that the two separate outbreaks over a period of years were caused by contamination of the parenteral (food-tube feeding) nutrition or liquid-form nutrition, both of which were prepared in the same hospital pharmacy in Spain. The patients receiving the nutrition were extremely ill, but thankfully not everyone who received the nutrition succumbed to the infection.

Is L. mesenteroides Probiotic?

As more research is performed on this species of bacteria, some strains are making the leap from beneficial bacteria to probiotic. One such strain is L. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides NTM048 isolated from green peas.

As a probiotic, NTM048 is shown to have sIgA stimulating activities as well as to influence body-wide immune reactions. sIgA is the immune protein that protects mucosal surfaces, such as your gastrointestinal tract, from invaders like pathogenic bacteria and viruses. By increasing sIgA and influencing the immune response, NTM048 can provide health benefits in protecting you from pathogens and in keeping the intestinal cells healthier and close together.

While not in itself considered a probiotic, another strain produces a prebiotic that is shown to support the growth of some Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. This prebiotic also showed an inhibitory effect on human colon cancer cells in vitro.

Where Can You Find Leuconostoc mesenteroides?

L. mesenteroides are found on many types of fresh produce. They produce acids and bacteriocins, special antibacterial chemicals, which reduce or eliminate pathogens in ferments and in your body.

Aside from the aforementioned food and drink sources, L. mesenteroides is found in at least one probiotic supplement, Raw Probiotics for Women. You can read the review of it on this page.

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