Lactobacillus plantarum is a non-gas-producing lactic acid bacterium that is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) with Qualified Presumption of Safety (QPS) status. Although traditionally used for dairy, meat and vegetable fermentation, L. plantarum is gaining increasing significance as a probiotic. With the newly acclaimed gut-heart-brain axis, strains of L. plantarum have proven to be a valuable species for the development of probiotics, with various beneficial effects on gut health, metabolic disorders and brain health. In this review, the classification and taxonomy, and the relation of these with safety aspects are introduced. Characteristics of L. plantarum to fulfill the criteria as a probiotic are discussed. Emphasis are also given to the beneficial functions of L. plantarum in gut disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases, metabolic syndromes, dyslipidemia, hypercholesteromia, obesity, and diabetes, and brain health aspects involving psychological disorders.
The role of microbiota in gut-brain communication has led to the development of probiotics promoting brain health. Here we report a genomic study of a Lactobacillus fermentum PS150 and its patented bioactive protein, elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), which is associated with cognitive improvement in rats. The L. fermentum PS150 circular chromosome is 2,238,401 bp and it consists of 2281 genes. Chromosome comparisons with other L. fermentum strains highlighted a cluster of glycosyltransferases as potential candidate probiotic factors besides EF-Tu. Molecular evolutionary analyses on EF-Tu genes (tuf) in 235 bacteria species revealed one to three copies of the gene per genome. Seven tuf pseudogenes were found and three species only possessed pseudogenes, which is an unprecedented finding. Protein variability analysis of EF-Tu showed five highly variable residues (40 K, 41G, 42 L, 44 K, and 46E) on the protein surface, which warrant further investigation regarding their potential roles as binding sites.
Maternal separation (MS) has been developed as a model for inducing stress and depression in studies using rodents. The concept of the gut-brain axis suggests that gut health is essential for brain health. Here, we present the effects of administration of a probiotic, Lactobacillus paracasei PS23 (PS23), to MS mice against psychological traits including anxiety and depression. The administration of live and heat-killed PS23 cells showed positive behavioural effects on MS animals, where exploratory tendencies and mobility were increased in behavioural tests, indicating reduced anxiety and depression compared to the negative control mice (P<0.05). Mice administered with both live and heat-killed PS23 cells also showed lower serum corticosterone levels accompanied by higher serum anti-inflammatory interleukin 10 (IL-10) levels, compared to MS separated mice (P<0.05), indicating a stress-elicited response affiliated with increased immunomodulatory properties. Assessment of neurotransmitters in the brain hippocampal region revealed that PS23 affected the concentrations of dopaminergic metabolites differently than the control, suggesting that PS23 may have improved MS-induced stress levels via neurotransmitter pathways, such as dopamine or other mechanisms not addressed in the current study. Our study illustrates the potential of a probiotic in reversing abnormalities induced by early life stress and could be an alternative for brain health along the gut-brain axis.
Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) represent a promising class of metallic catalysts for reduction of nitrogen-containing contaminants (NCCs), such as 4-nitrophenol (4-NP). Nevertheless, most researches involving MOFs for 4-NP reduction employ noble metals in the form of fine powders, making these powdered noble metal-based MOFs impractical and inconvenient for realistic applications. Thus, it would be critical to develop non-noble-metal MOFs which can be incorporated into macroscale and porous supports for convenient applications. Herein, the present study proposes to develop a composite material which combines advantageous features of macroscale/porous supports, and nanoscale functionality of MOFs. In particular, copper foam (CF) is selected as a macroscale porous medium, which is covered by nanoflower-structured CoO to increase surfaces for growing a cobaltic MOF, ZIF-67. The resultant composite comprises of CF covered by CoO nanoflowers decorated with ZIF-67 to form a hierarchical 3D-structured catalyst, enabling this ZIF-67@Cu foam (ZIF@CF) a promising catalyst for reducing 4-NP, and other NCCs. Thus, ZIF@CF can readily reduce 4-NP to 4-AP with a significantly lower Ea of 20 kJ/mol than reported values. ZIF@CF could be reused over 10 cycles and remain highly effective for 4-NP reduction. ZIF@CF also efficiently reduces other NCCs, such as 2-nitrophenol, 3-nitrophenol, methylene blue, and methyl orange. ZIF@CF can be adopted as catalytic filters to enable filtration-type reduction of NCCs by passing NCC solutions through ZIF@CF to promptly and conveniently reduce NCCs. The versatile and advantageous catalytic activity of ZIF@CF validates that ZIF@CF is a promising and practical heterogeneous catalyst for reductive treatments of NCCs.
As cobalt (Co) has been the most useful element for activating Oxone to generate SO4•-, this study aims to develop a hierarchical catalyst with nanoscale functionality and macroscale convenience by decorating nanoscale Co-based oxides on macroscale supports. Specifically, a facile protocol is proposed by utilizing Cu mesh itself as a Cu source for fabricating CuCo2O4 on Cu mesh. By changing the dosages of the Co precursor and carbamide, various nanostructures of CuCo2O4 grown on a Cu mesh can be afforded, including nanoscale needles, flowers, and sheets. Even though the Cu mesh itself can be also transformed to a Cu-Oxide mesh, the growth of CuCo2O4 on the Cu mesh significantly improves its physical, chemical, and electrochemical properties, making these CuCo2O4@Cu meshes much more superior catalysts for activating Oxone to degrade the Azo toxicant, Acid Red 27. More interestingly, the flower-like CuCo2O4@Cu mesh exhibits a higher specific surface area and more superior electrochemical performance, enabling the flower-like CuCo2O4@Cu mesh to show the highest catalytic activity for Oxone activation to degrade Acid Red 27. The flower-like CuCo2O4@Cu mesh also exhibits a much lower Ea of Acid Red 27 degradation than the reported catalysts. These results demonstrate that CuCo2O4@Cu meshes are advantageous heterogeneous catalysts for Oxone activation, and especially, the flower-like CuCo2O4@Cu mesh appears as the most effective CuCo2O4@Cu mesh to eliminate the toxic Acid Red 27.
In the last decade, the view of circadian oscillators has expanded from transcriptional feedback to incorporate post-transcriptional, post-translational, metabolic processes and ionic signalling. In plants and animals, there are circadian oscillations in the concentration of cytosolic free Ca2+ ([Ca2+]cyt), though their purpose has not been fully characterized. We investigated whether circadian oscillations of [Ca2+]cyt regulate the circadian oscillator of Arabidopsis thaliana. We report that in Arabidopsis, [Ca2+]cyt circadian oscillations can regulate circadian clock function through the Ca2+-dependent action of CALMODULIN-LIKE24 (CML24). Genetic analyses demonstrate a linkage between CML24 and the circadian oscillator, through pathways involving the circadian oscillator gene TIMING OF CAB2 EXPRESSION1 (TOC1).