Species in the Lactobacillus genus (a.k.a group) of bacteria are commonly found in our environment, but they could win an award for being uncommonly helpful to humans. Read on to learn their many talents.
What is Lactobacillus?
Lactobacillus is a type of rod-shaped bacteria that has a long history of partnership with humans.
Sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough, and yogurt – just to name a few – all made possible by different species of Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus species can’t make many of their own vitamins and amino acids, so they need to live in environments that can supply the molecules they need.
They’re commonly found on plants and plant parts – leaves, roots, fruits; in animal gastrointestinal tracts like our mouths and gut; in air and soil. These species are often resistant to acidic and salty environments, giving us the ability to specifically nurture them and exclude undesired organisms (more on that below). And most convenient for us humans, Lactobacillus species are “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) – they aren’t considered pathogenic to healthy individuals.
Five Ways Lactobacillus Bacteria Benefit Humans
- Food Production. When Lactobacillus bacteria consume sugars, they produce lactic acid and sometimes other byproducts that give many fermented foods their tangy flavor. Humans discovered thousands of years ago that when we put Lactobacillus in foods such as milk, vegetables, or fruits, and/or an environment that other bacteria don’t live in (ie salty conditions), the result is a food transformed.
- Food Preservation. A side benefit of using Lactobacillus in food production is that it comes with a food preservation boost. The lactic acid produced during the fermentation process makes the resulting food more acidic and acts as a natural preservative.
- Farming. There is a growing interest in using Lactobacillus species as a biological control agent to prevent bacterial and fungal crop disease, and foliar sprays are commercially available. Some farming methods like Korean Natural Farming integrate Lactobacillus collected on site to enhance plant growth and protect against disease causing organisms.
- Health. Lactobacillus is a component of the human gut microbiome that helps us digest our food. Types of these bacteria are often used as a probiotic supplement to support our gut health.
- Medicine. Beyond supporting our general health, studies have revealed the potential of Lactobacillus species in actively preventing diseases like cancer. For example, Dr. Robert Schiestl, Professor of Pathology and Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA, and coworkers, have studied a particular strain called Lactobacillus johnsonii 456. This strain appears to reduce the risk of lymphoma, cancer of the lymph system. Follow up studies on whether this strain can survive the journey through the human stomach to take up residence in the intestine achieved promising results.
SymSoil Robust Compost Contains Lactobacillus
SymSoil contains 7 kinds of life – bacteria, archaea, fungi, amoebae, flagellates, beneficial nematodes, and micro arthropods. Diversity of life is important for creating a resilient soil – healthy soil that nurtures and protects a growing crop.
Lactobacillus is one of the kinds of bacteria we cultivate, and we’ve just added a new strain – Lactobacillus johnsonii 456, mentioned above. It’s interesting to note that a recent study showed that different farming methods of wheat resulted in different bacteria colonizing the crop, leading to differing quality of the sourdough produced. Perhaps no surprise that how we treat our soil affects our food – and perhaps also affects our health?
Some food for thought …
What is Robust Compost?
Robust Compost feeds plants the way nature intended with the complete soil microbe biome. Sometimes called Living Soil, Soil Food Web compost or biocomplete compost, the full spectrum soil ecosystem includes bacteria, fungi, archaea, beneficial nematodes, amoeba, flagellates and micro-arthropods. Often it has other types of life, including animals (earthworms) and it may contain diatoms and other algae, phages and other types of protozoa.
Where healthy soil contains in excess of 10,000 species of life, Robust Compost has in excess of 1,000 species and includes at least 7 types of life. SymSoil® RC is Robust Compost, with over 2,000 species and 7% biochar, which acts as a soil conditioner as well as a tool to revive or reseed the soil microbe biome.
About SymSoil® Inc.
SymSoil is a leader in development of biological soil amendments for agriculture that restores the microbes that provide the right food to the plant roots, improving plant health, and making food more nutrient dense and flavorful, the way nature intended. SymSoil has products and services for growers using regenerative agriculture methodologies which improve profitability. Its flagship product, SymSoil® RC (Robust Compost) is a complex community of soil microbes, which includes in excess of 2,000 species, covering broad biodiversity of bacteria, fungi, amoebae, and other protozoa, beneficial nematodes and micro-arthropods. SymSoil was named one of 2019’s AgTech Companies to Watch. Accredited Investors can learn more about SymSoil as an impact investment here.