Monday, July 8, 2013

Literature Review (Htet Wai Yan)

Selected title

  • Investigation of effects of various beverages on probiotics (Lactobacillus Casei).

Research question

  • Do the beverages we consume affect the probiotics (lactobacillus) or it's growth in our body? If so, how?


  • Beverages do affect probiotic growth and we expect less than 50% of them terminated.

Introduction to probiotics and antibiotics

  • The shortened version of our sub-research is actually just "Probiotics vs Antibiotics". We are trying to find out whether antibiotics slows the progress of the growth of probiotics or even on the very extreme, stops the growth of probiotics. However, before we move on to further complicated areas, let us get the basic definitions right. Starting with Probiotics, let us break down the word 'probiotics' to 'pro' and 'biotics'. From this, it should be easy enough to guess what this word 'probiotic' means. With "pro" being 'for' (in a way) and taking 'biotic' as a substitute for 'bacteria' (although its actual meaning is 'living'), probiotics are live bacteria that benefits the host it depends on. It is like mutualism in symbiosis in biology where both organism benefits. On the other hand, antibiotics is something that disapprove the growth of bacteria, seen from the word 'anti' as 'against' and 'biotics' again as 'bacteria' though its actual meaning may differ. The proper definition for the term 'antibiotics' are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. So these antibiotics are designed to terminate harmful bacteria, but the no one is sure what will happen to the harmless and beneficial ones who are often trapped in the crossfire. So we want to find out what will be the result of this matter. With lactobacillus as the probiotic and other related antibiotics as the antibiotic, we want to see if these lactobacillus are affected and if so, how? Also, we would like to find out what we can do to turn the tables to a win-win situation.

Introduction to beverages

  • Inside us, there are the naturally occurring antibodies 'manufactured' by our immune system that are so called 'programmed' to detect and eliminate or neutralize the foreign threats in our body. However, they too have a limit and antibiotics for medical use are often brought in to help in facing the more dominant threats. With antibiotics introduced, there are positive benefits, but also negative impacts. These 'negative impacts' can be known as the antibiotic's side effects as stated in the prescription of these antibiotics. These side effects are caused by the antibiotics itself when performing its function as the harmless and beneficial bacteria are often caught in friendly fire, which ultimately disrupts the balanced composition of intestinal flora. These 'good' bacteria are called probiotics as stated in the above paragraph. As a result, we take probiotic drinks to counter this issue. Still, most probiotic drinks are required to be taken with an additional beverage. Now, we arrive at our research title, which is find out whether these beverages taken have any effect on the probiotics inside and outside our bodies.

Purpose and Importance

  • Why is this important? It is rather an easy question to answer. To start with, both of these 'biotics' (not scientifically used here) are of benefit to us humans, with the only but major problem here is their uncooperative nature they have with each other, which is them conflicting among themselves, which eventually affects their main purpose, our health. Our health is compromised when these two conflict with each other, with the antibiotic unintentionally terminating the probiotics along with harmful bacteria, which eventually affects us with side effects. This happens when antibiotics terminate the probiotics which destabilizes our immune system, resulting in well known 'antibiotic side effects'. So our purpose of this experiment of testing the effects of various antibiotics on probiotics, particularly lactobacillus (due to it's nature of it strains mostly being probiotics), is to be aware of the conflicting relationship these two so that we are able to compromise less of our health. In other words, we want to know which antibiotics is better suited to which bacteria/ illness with little side effects, so that we are able to cut down loss from 'friendly fire' among probiotics and antibiotics, so that less of our health is compromised with more benefits.
  • If possible, we would try to answer (in theory) question of turning the tables around and seeing whether we are able to make these two friendly agents work with each other to fufill their main cause.


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