Background: Probiotics are live microorganisms which are beneficial bacteria that are normal flora of the digestive system which, in determined amounts, show beneficial effects on host health, and can balance gastrointestinal microflora. Digestive tract diseases such as diarrhea are one of the major causes of child mortality in developing countries. Different pathotypes of Escherichia coli cause diarrhea that affects children, therefore reduction of these colonization strains in humans or animals can decline gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea.  
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the antimicrobial effect of probiotic bacterial strains isolated from different natural sources against 4 pathotypes of pathogenic E. coli using disk and well diffusion methods.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2013 to July 2014 on Martyr Chamran University in Ahwaz city. A total of 13 probiotic colonies isolated from 20 samples of traditional dairy products including yogurt, cheese and milk, and 20 samples of vegetables including carrots and cabbages (red and white), of which 5 isolates were selected to determine the antimicrobial effect against 4 Escherichia coli pathotypes, randomly. The antimicrobial effect was evaluated using two methods: disk diffusion and well diffusion tests and measuring growth inhibition zones of probiotics against 4 pathotypes of pathogenic E. coli.
Results: Obtained results showed growth inhibition effects of all 5 probiotic strains against Escherichia coli pathotypes in both used methods. But in comparison Lactobacillus plantarum had higher growth inhibitory effects in both methods.
Conclusion: results of this study demonstrated high antimicrobial effect of probiotic bacteria against pathogenic Escherichia coli strains. It indicated a positive and beneficial role of probiotics in human health and prevention of illness.


Keywords: Probiotics, Antimicrobial effects, Pathogenic strains, Intestinal infections, Escherichia coli


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