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Clean with Probiotics: How to Boost Surface Microbiome Diversity and Inhibit Biofilms

Research Summary


As we continue to strive for cleaner and healthier environments, the question of how to effectively clean surfaces while preserving the natural balance of microorganisms becomes increasingly important. Conventional cleaning methods, such as the use of disinfectants and soap solutions, have been shown to disrupt the diversity of surface microbiomes and promote the growth of biofilms. However, recent scientific research has provided evidence that probiotic cleaning solutions may offer a more sustainable alternative.


A study published in the journal Microorganisms in November 2020, titled "Disinfectant, Soap or Probiotic Cleaning? Surface Microbiome Diversity and Biofilm Competitive Exclusion", compared the effects of three different cleaning methods on the diversity of surface microbiomes and the development of biofilms. The results of the study indicated that the probiotic cleaning solution resulted in the highest diversity of surface microbiomes and effectively reduced the development of biofilms.


These findings have significant implications for the use of probiotics in cleaning applications in various settings, such as hospitals, food industry and households. Probiotic cleaning solutions have been found to be not only effective in cleaning surfaces, but also in promoting a diverse and healthy surface microbiome, which can help to inhibit the growth of harmful biofilms. It is worth mentioning that probiotic cleaning solutions are also eco-friendly and safe for human and animal contact.

The study was conducted by Stone et al., over an eight-month period, during which three different cleaning products (disinfectant, plain soap, and a probiotic cleaner containing a patented Bacillus spore consortium) and tap water as the control were used to clean three common hospital surfaces (linoleum, ceramic, and stainless steel). The goal of the study was to compare the effect of these cleaning products on the resident microbiome of the surfaces and to assess the competitive exclusion of pathogens, specifically Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

The study found that cell survival was not a complete tool for measuring microbial competitive exclusion, and that biofilm competition offered a fuller understanding of the dynamics at play. When observing the culturable cell survival on the surfaces, it was found that both plain soap and probiotic cleaner regimes established a surface microbiome that outcompeted the two pathogens.

The study concludes that microbial diversity appears to be as critical to the competitive exclusion principle as cell numbers, and that both plain soap and probiotic cleaner fostered competitive exclusion far more effectively than disinfectant. The study suggests that probiotic cleaners with microbial diversity could be worth considering for hospital cleaning.

Probiotic cleaning solutions may be an effective alternative to traditional cleaning methods as they promote a diverse surface microbiome and inhibit the development of biofilms. These findings suggest that probiotic cleaning solutions have potential applications in various settings such as hospitals, food industry and households.


Stone W, Tolmay J, Tucker K, Wolfaardt GM. (2020). Disinfectant, Soap or Probiotic Cleaning? Surface Microbiome Diversity and Biofilm Competitive Exclusion. Microorganisms. 8(11):1726.

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