To create a microbiome modulating tool able to help us face our current global health challenges, we screened our large collection of human-isolated strains with the intention to identify a bacteria with a strong fat reduction capacity.
BPL1 was identified as a result of this endeavor. Its safety, regulatory status and scale-up to industrial volumes were developed in the following years, together with a strong scientific dossier supporting its effect in humans.
1. As with the rest of ADM Biopolis’ probiotic collection, BPL1 was isolated from healthy humans, in particular from the faeces of a breast-fed baby under three months old, according to FAO/WHO guidelines.
All the pertinent safety evaluations were performed, including genome sequencing, and antibiotic resistance assays among others. Bifidobacterium lactis subsp. lactis BPL1 is in the QPS list and has self-affirmed GRAS status in the US
2. Our screening technology behind the identification of BPL1 was based in the use of Caenorhabditis elegans as an in vivo model for fat reduction. This well-established model organism allows for the identification of probiotic effects in an environment that can then be confidently extrapolated to humans. BPL1 showed the highest body-fat reduction among >35 strains and mechanisms were further deciphered with transcriptomic and metabolomic experiments. This approach confirmed that the main metabolic pathways modulated by BPL1 in the worm were also present in humans and the strain had a strong antioxidant effect. Furthermore, the ability of BPL1 to reduce fat content even when it was in a heat-treated state, was also identified in this set of experiments.
3. The results found in C. elegans were then transferred to two murine models for metabolic disorders: cafeteria-fed-obese rats and genetically obese (Zücker) rats. The trials were run against placebo conditions and, according to the previously obtained results, the metabolic modulation capacity of the strain was confirmed in both studies.
4. Finally, a human clinical trial confirmed the effect of the strain, both alive and heat-treated, in reducing key obesity-related factors. More precisely, statistically significant results were found in the reduction of abdominal fat and waist circumference on a 12-week clinical trial with 135 overweight subjects, that was randomized, parallel, double-blind and placebo-controlled.