Biotoxins & Probiotic Research

This page contains educational material about the use of Probiotics in removal of biotoxins from the body. This information is for educational purposes only. Nothing in this text is intended to serve as medical advice. All medical decisions should be made only with the guidance of your own personal medical authority. I am doing my best to get this data up quickly and correctly. If you find errors in this data, please let me know.


I have been doing some research with the use of probiotics and fermented vegetables as a method to remove mycotoxins. I am using them 30-45 minutes prior to meals in the place of cholestyramine to see if they can alter the mycotoxins in any way as they pass through the intestines. If you are using these or water soluble fibers or any other supplements or herbs to alter the mycotoxins or to bind them or the bile and alter/remove them, please let me know. I would love to hear from you at:


Bacterial Metabolism of Mycotoxins

The first phase of the intoxication by many food-borne mycotoxins and their derivatives corresponds to their passage through the gut wall, such transport being possibly affected by bacterial metabolism. The intestinal tract of animals and humans contains vast amounts of bacteria forming the commensal microbiota that lives in symbiosis with the host. The microbiota plays important roles in the maturation of the intestinal and immune systems, in the nutrition of the host, and in the protection of the host against pathogenic micro-organisms and hazardous chemicals/xenobiotics, including mycotoxins.

Microorganisms have been identified that are capable of metabolizing certain mycotoxins. For example: bovine rumen microorganisms have been shown to detoxify deoxynivalenol (DON) under some conditions, and feed additives based on these organisms have been developed.

Specific examples: Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG and Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain L-705 have been studied quite a bit and shown to have a good removal capacity for aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). These strains of lactic acid bacteria are currently used in food products. Ochratoxin A has also proven to be effected by L. rhamnosus GG and L. rhamnosus LC705 but not as much as AFB1.

Following are research articles I have found relating to the use of colonic bacteria found in humans or rumen bacteria found in ruminant animals to detoxify or elliminate mycotoxins. There is also additional research on various other animals. If you find data you think I should include, please send it to


Food Funct. 2015 Mar;6(3):987-94. doi: 10.1039/c4fo01140f.
Influence of prebiotics, probiotics and protein ingredients on mycotoxin bioaccessibility.
Ferrer M1, Manyes L, Mañes J, Meca G.

The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of prebiotic compounds (cellulose and inulin), food ingredients (milk whey, β-lactoglobulin and calcium caseinate) and several probiotic microorganisms on the bioaccessibility of beauvericin (BEA), enniatins (ENs A, A1, B, B1), deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEA) present in wheat crispy bread produced with wheat flour previously fermented with F. tricinctum, F. culmorum and G. zeae. The bioaccessibility of mycotoxins was determined by a dynamic simulated gastrointestinal digestion system, imitating the human digestive physiological conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Mycotoxins were determined in the simulated intestinal fluids by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). EN bioaccessibility ranged from 15.1 to 30.6%, whereas the values evidenced for BEA ranged from 12 to 19%. DON showed bioaccessibility data ranging from 0.8 to 5.6% whereas for ZEA the data evidenced ranged from 26 to 44%. The bioaccessibility reduction evidenced using probiotic microorganisms for the mycotoxins studied ranged from 21 to 27.1% for ENs, from 29 to 39.7% for DON, from 41 to 57% for ZEA and from 6.6 to 10.5% for BEA. The addition of prebiotic and bioactive microorganisms decreased the bioaccessibility of mycotoxins, with a concentration-dependent behavior, thus being a potential strategy for reducing human exposure to these minor mycotoxins.
PMID: 25673154 DOI: 10.1039/c4fo01140f

Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Jun;47(6):1064-8.
Screening of Lactobacillus casei strains for their ability to bind aflatoxin B1.

Hernandez-Mendoza A1, Garcia HS, Steele JL.

It has been proposed that the consumption of lactic acid bacteria capable of binding or degrading foodborne carcinogens would reduce human exposure to these deleterious compounds. In the present study, the ability of eight strains of Lactobacillus casei to bind aflatoxin B1 in aqueous solution was investigated. Additionally, the effect of addition of bile salts to the growth medium on aflatoxin B1 binding was assessed. The eight strains tested were obtained from different ecological niches (cheese, corn silage, human feces, fermented beverage). The strains exhibited different degrees of aflatoxin binding; the strain with the highest AFB1 binding was L. casei L30, which bound 49.2% of the available aflatoxin (4.6 microg/mL). In general, the human isolates bound the most aflatoxin B1 and the cheese isolates the least. Stability of the bacterial-aflatoxin complex was assessed by repeated washings. Binding was to a limited degree (0.6-9.2% release) reversible; the L. casei 7R1-aflatoxin B1 complex exhibited the greatest stability. L. casei L30, a human isolate, was the strain least sensitive to the inhibitory effects of bile salts. Exposure of the bacterial cells to bile significant increased aflatoxin B1 binding and the differences between the strains was reduced.
PMID: 19425181 [PubMed]

Environ Sci Health B. 2012;47(10):933-41. doi: 10.1080/03601234.2012.706558.
Evaluation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains as probiotic agent with aflatoxin B? adsorption ability for use in poultry feedstuffs.

Pizzolitto RP1, Armando MR, Combina M, Cavaglieri LR, Dalcero AM, Salvano MA.

In this study the aflatoxin B? (AFB?) removal capacity, the tolerance to salivary and gastrointestinal conditions, autoaggregation and coaggregation with pathogenic bacteria of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains isolated from broiler feces, were evaluated. Only four of twelve isolated strains were identified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae using molecular techniques. The results obtained in AFB? binding studies indicated that the amount of AFB? removed was both strain and mycotoxin-concentration dependent. Therefore, a theoretical model was applied in order to select the most efficient strain to remove AFB? in a wide range of mycotoxin concentration. The results indicated that S. cerevisiae 08 and S. cerevisiae 01 strains were the most efficient microorganisms in the mycotoxin removal. Viability on simulated salivary and gastrointestinal conditions was investigated and S. cerevisiae 08 strain showed the best results, achieving 98% of total survival whereas S. cerevisiae 01 reached only 75%. Autoaggregation and coaggregation assays showed S. cerevisiae 08 as the most appropriate strain, mainly because it was the unique strain able to coaggregate with the four bacterial pathogens assayed. Consequently, S. cerevisiae 08 is the best candidate for future in vivo studies useful to prevent aflatoxicosis. Further quantitative in vitro and in vivo studies are required to evaluate the real impact of yeast-binding activity on the bioavailability of AFB? in poultry. However, this study could be useful in selecting efficient strains in terms of AFB? binding and provide an important contribution to research into microorganisms with potential probiotic effects on the host.
Data on use of Lactic acid bacteria and fermented products


Prep Biochem Biotechnol. 2015 Aug 18;45(6):530-50. doi: 10.1080/10826068.2014.940969.
Protective Role of Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria Against Dietary Fumonisin B1-induced Toxicity and DNA-Fragmentation in Sprague-Dawley Rats.

Khalil AA1, Abou-Gabal AE, Abdellatef AA, Khalid AE.
Author information
The genus Fusarium, especially F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum, has been found in several agricultural products worldwide, especially in maize. Regardless the occurrence of symptoms, the presence of Fusarium in maize constitutes an imminent risk due to its ability to produce fumonisins, mycotoxins with proven carcinogenic effect on rats, swine, and equines and already classified as possible carcinogens to humans. The toxicity of incremental levels of fumonisin B1 (FB1), that is, 50, 100, and 200 mg FB1/kg diet, and the role of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis DSM 20076 (LL) and Pediococcus acidilactici NNRL B-5627 (PA) supplementation in counteracting the FB1 effects in intoxicated rats were monitored over a period of 4 weeks. Effects on the feed intake and body weight gain were noticed. A significant (p ≤ 0.05) increase in the level of liver and kidney functions markers and DNA fragmentation was also noticed in rat groups T100 and T200. The lactic acid bacteria (LAB) supplementation could bring back the normal serum biochemical parameters in rats fed on fumonisin B1-contaminated diets (T50 and T100) compared to FB1-treated groups. In rats of high-dosage dietary groups supplemented with LAB (T200-LL and T200-PA), the supplementation reduced the serum activity levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and creatinine by 11.3, 11.9, 32, and 20%, respectively. DNA fragmentations were observed in the rat group treated with 200 mg FB1 after 3 weeks, while fragmentation was noticed in treated groups with 100 and 200 mg FB1 after 4 weeks. No DNA fragmentation was apparent in FB1-treated rats co-administered the LL or PA strain. These results suggest that in male rats consuming diets containing FB1, there is a time- and dose-dependent increase in serum enzyme activities and DNA lesions. Moreover, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis (LL) and P. acidilactici (PA) strains have a protective effect against antigenotoxicity and precancerous lesions.
PMID: 25036875

Mini Rev Med Chem. 2014 Jan;14(1):84-98.
Surface binding of toxins and heavy metals by probiotics.

Zoghi A, Khosravi-Darani K, Sohrabvandi S1.

Removal of toxic metals and toxins using microbial biomass has been introduced as an inexpensive, new promising method on top of conventional methods for decontamination of food, raw material and concentrated. In this article the potential application of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts as the most familiar probiotics to eliminate, inactivate or reduce bioavailability of contamination in foods and feed has been reviewed. After fast glance to beneficial health effects and preservative properties of lactic acid bacteria, the mechanisms which explain antibacterial and antifungal efficiency as well as their antifungal metabolites are mentioned. Then the article has been focused on potential application of single strain or combination of lactic acid bacteria for removal of heavy metals (copper, lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic), cyanotoxins (microcystin-LR, -RR, -LF) and mycotoxins (aflatoxin B1, B2, B2a, M1, M2, G1, G2, patulin, ochratoxin A, deoxynivalenol, fumonisin B1 and B2, 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol, deoxynivalenol, fusarenon, nivalenol, diacetoxyscirpenol, HT-2 and T-2 toxin, zearalenone and its derivative, etc) from aqueous solutions in vitro. Wherever possible the mechanism of decontamination and the factors influencing yield of removal are discussed. Some factors which can facilitate metal removal capacity of lactic acid bacteria including the strains, surface charge, pH, temperature, presence of other cations are introduced. The cell wall structure of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts are also introduced for further explanation of mechanism of action in complex binding of probiotic to contaminants and strength of mycotoxin- bacterium interaction.
PMID: 24329992 [PubMed]


Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2127-2136; doi:10.3390/toxins6072127
Removal of Paralytic Shellfish Toxins by Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria

Mari Vasama 1,2, Himanshu Kumar 1,*, Seppo Salminen 1 and Carolyn A. Haskard 2,3

Abstract: Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are non-protein neurotoxins produced by saltwater dinoflagellates and freshwater cyanobacteria. The ability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains GG and LC-705 (in viable and non-viable forms) to remove PSTs (saxitoxin (STX), neosaxitoxin (neoSTX), gonyautoxins 2 and 3 (GTX2/3), C-toxins 1 and 2 (C1/2)) from neutral and acidic solution (pH 7.3 and 2) was examined using HPLC. Binding decreased in the order of STX ~ neoSTX > C2 > GTX3 > GTX2 > C1. Removal of STX and neoSTX (77%–97.2%) was significantly greater than removal of GTX3 and C2 (33.3%–49.7%). There were no significant differences in toxin removal capacity between viable and non-viable forms of lactobacilli, which suggested that binding rather than metabolism is the mechanism of the removal of toxins. In general, binding was not affected by the presence of other organic molecules in solution. Importantly, this is the first study to demonstrate the ability of specific probiotic lactic bacteria to remove PSTs, particularly the most toxic PST-STX, from solution. Further, these results warrant thorough screening and assessment of safe and beneficial microbes for their usefulness in the seafood and water industries and their effectiveness in vivo. For full article for free


Appl. Environ. Microbiol. September 2012 vol. 78 no. 18 6397-6404
Bioremediation and Tolerance of Humans to Heavy Metals through Microbial Processes: a Potential Role for Probiotics?


The food and water we consume are often contaminated with a range of chemicals and heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and mercury, that are associated with numerous diseases. Although heavy-metal exposure and contamination are not a recent phenomenon, the concentration of metals and the exposure to populations remain major issues despite efforts at remediation. The ability to prevent and manage this problem is still a subject of much debate, with many technologies ineffective and others too expensive for practical large-scale use, especially for developing nations where major pollution occurs. This has led researchers to seek alternative solutions for decontaminating environmental sites and humans themselves. A number of environmental microorganisms have long been known for their ability to bind metals, but less well appreciated are human gastrointestinal bacteria. Species such as Lactobacillus, present in the human mouth, gut, and vagina and in fermented foods, have the ability to bind and detoxify some of these substances. This review examines the current understanding of detoxication mechanisms of lactobacilli and how, in the future, humans and animals might benefit from these organisms in remediating environmental contamination of food. For full article for free


J Appl Microbiol. 2012 Aug;113(2):256-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05331.x. Epub 2012 Jun 25.
Adsorption of ochratoxin A and zearalenone by potential probiotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains and its relation with cell wall thickness.

Armando MR1, Pizzolitto RP, Dogi CA, Cristofolini A, Merkis C, Poloni V, Dalcero AM, Cavaglieri LR.

 To examine Saccharomyces cerevisae strains with previously reported beneficial properties and aflatoxin B? binding capacity, for their ability to remove ochratoxin A (OTA) and zearalenone (ZEA) and to study the relation between cell wall thickness and detoxificant ability of yeast strains.
 A mycotoxin binding assay at different toxin concentrations and the effect of gastrointestinal conditions on mycotoxin binding were evaluated. Ultrastructural studies of yeast cells were carried out with transmission electronic microscopy. All tested strains were capable of removing OTA and ZEA. Saccharomyces cerevisiae RC012 and RC016 showed the highest OTA removal percentage, whereas RC009 and RC012 strains showed the highest ZEA removal percentages. The cell diameter/cell wall thickness relation showed a correlation between cell wall amount and mycotoxin removal ability. After exposure to gastrointestinal conditions, a significant increase in mycotoxin binding was observed.
 All tested Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains were able to remove OTA and ZEA, and physical adsorption would be the main mechanism involved in ochratoxin A and ZEA removal. Gastrointestinal conditions would enhance adsorption and not decrease mycotoxin-adsorbent interactions.
 Live strains with mycotoxin binding ability and beneficial properties are potential probiotics that could be included in animal feed. Previous and present results suggest that the RC008 and RC016 strains are very promising candidates for functional feed product development.
© 2012 The Authors Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.
PMID: 22563909 [PubMed]


Toxicon. 2011 Aug;58(2):179-86. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 May 31.
Ability of Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus reuteri to protect against oxidative stress in rats fed aflatoxins-contaminated diet.

Hathout AS1, Mohamed SR, El-Nekeety AA, Hassan NS, Aly SE, Abdel-Wahhab MA.

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been reported to remove mycotoxins from aqueous solutions through a binding process, which appears to be species and strain specific. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the protective role of Lactobacillus casei (L1) and Lactobacillus reuteri (L2) against aflatoxin (AFs)-induced oxidative stress in rats. Sixty female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 6 groups including the control group and the groups treated with L1 or L2 (1 x 10¹¹/ml) alone at a dose of 10 ml/kg b.w or plus AFs (3 mg/kg diet) for 4 weeks. At the end of the treatments, blood and tissue samples were collected for biochemical and histological studies. The results indicated that AFs alone induced a significant decrease in food intake and body weight and a significant increase in transaminase, alkaline phosphatase cholesterol, triglycerides, total lipids, creatinine, uric acid and nitric oxide in serum and lipid peroxidation in liver and kidney accompanied with a significant decrease in total antioxidant capacity. Treatments with L1 or L2 succeeded to induce a significant improvement in all the biochemical parameters and histological picture of the liver. Moreover, L2 was more effective than L1 and both can be used safely in functional foods.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
PMID: 21658402 [PubMed]


Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Aug;91(3):491-504. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3401-5. Epub 2011 Jun 21.
Biological detoxification of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol and its use in genetically engineered crops and feed additives.

Karlovsky P.

Deoxynivalenol (DON) is the major mycotoxin produced by Fusarium fungi in grains. Food and feed contaminated with DON pose a health risk to humans and livestock. The risk can be reduced by enzymatic detoxification. Complete mineralization of DON by microbial cultures has rarely been observed and the activities turned out to be unstable. The detoxification of DON by reactions targeting its epoxide group or hydroxyl on carbon 3 is more feasible. Microbial strains that de-epoxidize DON under anaerobic conditions have been isolated from animal digestive system. Feed additives claimed to de-epoxidize trichothecenes enzymatically are on the market but their efficacy has been disputed. A new detoxification pathway leading to 3-oxo-DON and 3-epi-DON was discovered in taxonomically unrelated soil bacteria from three continents; the enzymes involved remain to be identified. Arabidopsis, tobacco, wheat, barley, and rice were engineered to acetylate DON on carbon 3. In wheat expressing DON acetylation activity, the increase in resistance against Fusarium head blight was only moderate. The Tri101 gene from Fusarium sporotrichioides was used; Fusarium graminearum enzyme which possesses higher activity towards DON would presumably be a better choice. Glycosylation of trichothecenes occurs in plants, contributing to the resistance of wheat to F. graminearum infection. Marker-assisted selection based on the trichothecene-3-O-glucosyltransferase gene can be used in breeding for resistance. Fungal acetyltransferases and plant glucosyltransferases targeting carbon 3 of trichothecenes remain promising candidates for engineering resistance against Fusarium head blight. Bacterial enzymes catalyzing oxidation, epimerization, and less likely de-epoxidation of DON may extend this list in future.
PMID: 21691789 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3136691 Free PMC Article


Food Addit Contam. 2002 Jul;19(7):680-6.
Removal of common Fusarium toxins in vitro by strains of Lactobacillus and Propionibacterium.

1Department of Clinical Nutrition, Food and Health Research Center, University of Kuopio, PO Box FIN-1627, 70211, Kuopio, Finland.
This study was conducted to examine the ability of selected strains of Lactobacillus and Propionibacterium to remove common Fusarium toxins, trichothecenes, from liquid media. The trichothecenes studied were deoxynivalenol (DON), 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-AcDON), nivalenol (NIV), fusarenon (FX), diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS), T-2 toxin (T-2) and HT-2 toxin (HT-2). The Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG (LGG), Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain LC-705 (LC-705) and Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS (PJS) were incubated in PBS buffer containing 20 microg toxin ml(-1) for 1h at 37 degrees C, and after centrifugation the concentration of the toxins was measured in the supernatant fraction. Both viable and heat-killed forms of LGG and PJS were more efficient than LC-705 in removing the toxins from the liquid media. LGG and PJS removed four of the seven tested toxins (the removal varying from 18 to 93%) and LC-705 two toxins (10-64%). Of the toxins, 3-AcDON was not removed by any of the bacteria; HT-2 was removed by the non-viable LGG and also slightly by non-viable LC-705; DAS was removed by all three bacteria tested. Binding is postulated as the possible mechanism of the removal, since no difference was observed between the ability of viable and heat-killed bacteria in removing the trichothecenes, and no degradation products of the toxins were detected by gas chromatography (GC)-mass spectrometry (MS) analysis. It is concluded that significant differences exist in the ability of the bacteria to bind trichothecenes in vitro.
PMID: 12113664 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

For more on different types of Biotoxin Removers.


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