P. freudenreichii  produces great-tasting cheese and important vitamins. This bacterium also beneficially modifies our microbiota and has beneficial effects on the GI tract.

What is Propionibacterium freudenreichii?

Propionibacterium freudenreichii  is widely used in the food industry, especially as a starter in the production of Swiss-type cheeses such as Emmental and Maasdam. These bacteria are essential for the development of a nutty and sweet flavor, and produce CO2 responsible for the appearance of the typical cheese “holes” (R).

An estimated one billion living cells of P. freudenreichii are present in one gram of Emmental (R).

In the food industry, P. freudenreichii  is also used as a vitamin producer, certain  strains having the ability to produce vitamins such as riboflavin (R) and cobalamin (vitamin B12) (R).

In addition to its traditional use, research has recently focused on health benefits related to P. freudenreichii (R). It was shown that the consumption of this bacterium modulates the gut microbiota, which makes P. freudenreichii  both a probiotic and a prebiotic (R).

Health Benefits of P. freudenreichii

1) P. freudenreichii  Beneficially Modifies Gut Microbiota

P. freudenreichii  stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria in the colon in healthy volunteers (R,R).

Bifidogenic growth stimulator (BGS) is a prebiotic preparation produced by P. freudenreichii  that stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria (R)

2) P. freudenreichii  is Anti-inflammatory

A component from P. freudenreichii  suppresses the production of proinflammatory cytokines and attenuates colitis in mice (R).

3) P. freudenreichii  May be Beneficial in IBD

P. freudenreichii  was effective in the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in a human pilot study (R).

P. freudenreichii  accelerates the healing in rats with colitis (R,R).

A component of P. freudenreichii  improved survival rate and reduced damage in mice with colitis, by attenuating colonic inflammation through balancing intestinal bacterial flora and suppressing lymphocyte infiltration (R).

4) P. freudenreichii  Relieves Constipation

P. freudenreichii  relieves constipation in young healthy women (R).

5) P. freudenreichii  Binds Toxins

P. freudenreichii  binds cadmium and lead efficiently at low concentration ranges commonly observed in foods (R).

6) P. freudenreichii  Combats Cancer

P. freudenreichii  is able to kill colon cancer cells in rats (R).

Propionibacteria induce intrinsic apoptosis of colon cancer cells, via the production and release of SCFA (propionate and acetate) acting on mitochondria (R).

Milk fermented by P. freudenreichii  kills human gastric cancer cells and enhances the cytotoxicity of camptothecin, a drug used in gastric cancer chemotherapy (R).


  • P. freudenreichii  increases butyrate (R,R) and the amount of Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, and Enterobacteriaceae (R,R).
  • P. freudenreichii  decreases IL-1β , IL-6, and TNF-α (R) and increases IL-10 (R).


P. freudenreichii  is widely used in the food industry and considered safe.


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