General Question

JLeslie's avatar

Is there any way to test if my acidophilus pills still have active bacteria?

Asked by JLeslie (56426points) September 23rd, 2010

Can I put them in milk or something that I have in my house, and maybe the cultures would grow?

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10 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes. This article tell you how to tell.

JLeslie's avatar

@marinelife I don’t see how to actually grow the cultures? The link goes to sociological cultures not bacterial or yogurt cultures. Did it work differently for you? Or, maybe I missed something?

marinelife's avatar

“Three pepsinized whey based media were compared for growing cells of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM for preparing frozen concentrated cultures. Concentrations of dried sweet whey tested in the media were 2.5, 5.0, and 7.5%. The cells of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM were grown at 37°C in various media maintained at pH 6.0 during growth with a neutralizer of 20% sodium carbonate in 20% ammonium hydroxide. As whey solids were increased in the media, maximum populations attained during growth decreased. The culture reached maximum populations in the media containing 2.5 and 5.0% whey solids after 12 and 18h, then remained constant for the remainder of the 24-h incubation period. However, in the medium containing 7.5% whey solids the culture appeared to enter a death phase after only 12h of incubation. The maximum population in the 7.5% medium was also considerably lower than maximums in the 2.5 and 5.0% media. ”


Judi's avatar

I don’t know if there’s a test, but my daughters only buy the refrigerated ones because they say any others have a negligible amount of live bacteria.

Nullo's avatar

Make up a dish of agar gel and drop one in. Let it sit.

ninahenry's avatar

Research a good brand and a good health food shop who store it correctly (in a fridge as @Judi mentioned) 10 billion in one capsual is suitable, if it’s less, take more up to that amount. Mine are a cheaper brand than I’d like at 4 billion per capsual so I just take 2.
Nice question :)

JLeslie's avatar

I am worried about the storage. If just one part of the distribution chain screwed up, boom they could be all dead. How would we know? I don’t buy milk from Kroger anymore, because the milk goes bad in a couple days, way before it’s date, obviously somewhere it is not refrigerated correctly, but the fridge at the stores seem fine.

I am taking mega antibiotics and I want to be sure.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I dunno if dumping your acidophili into that chemical inferno is going to do you any good in the first place. Maybe on the recovery, but not together.

shilolo's avatar

In order to be quantitative about it, you’ll need to prepare like a scientist. If the pills are active, they may have as many as billions (i.e. 1×10^8) of bacteria to as few as a hundred. However, just dumping the contents into a growth medium (like milk) won’t tell you because the bacteria can grow very rapidly, and starting with a few or a lot will be all the same (lactobacilli can double every twenty minutes). One possibility is for you to make serial ten fold dilutions in a suitable growth medium or, if you can make or access them, use agar petri dishes.
1. For a home medium, you can try to dilute some milk so that it is not so turbid, and then boil it.
2. Thus, take 9 ml of your “boiled milk”, and mix the lactobacillus in 1 ml of water.
3. Add to the 9 ml to make 10 (this is 1:10).
4. Take 1 ml out and add to another 9 ml of “boiled milk” (1:100).
5. Repeat 6–7 times and include 9 ml of “boiled milk” that is untouched (your control). Ideally, these dilutions will be made into sterilized vessels.
6. Leave them out for several days at room temperature and assess daily for growth.

If this works (a big if), you should see growth in the most concentrated for sure, but also in most of your dilutions as well. Hopefully, your sterile technique will prevent growth in the control but will show you growth in your inoculated vessels. Good luck.

JLeslie's avatar

@shilolo After boiling the milk, I am assuming I let it come to room temperature before adding the bacteria? If so, I find it interesting we need to keep the pills refrigerated to keep it alive, but I put it in room temperature to grow a culture? Also, would you cover the vessel? Or, oopen to the air?

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