Bacillus subtilis, also known as the hay or grass bacillus, is a bacteria inhabiting the upper layers of the soil and the gastrointestinal tract of ruminants and humans.
Bacillus subtilis has the ability to produce and secrete antibiotics. Antibiotics are secreted during sporulation to increase the microorganism’s chance of survival. Cultures of B. subtilis were popular worldwide, before the introduction of antibiotics, as an immunostimulating agent to aid treatment of gastrointestinal and urinary tract diseases.
Bacillus subtilis plays a major role in the production of food (fermented products, flavor enhancers, sweeteners and animal feed additives), antibiotics, and vitamins. It serves as a model organism for the development of sporicides, chemical agents that kill spores.
In nature, Bacillus subtilis inhabits the soil, plant root surfaces and aquatic environments.
Bacillus subtilis is also found in several commercially available fermented food products, including soy beans fermented with B. subtilis.
Probiotic administration is associated with a reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) by 42%.
Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hempel S et al. JAMA 2012;307:1959–69. Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children. Goldenberg JZ et al. Cochrane database Syst Rev 2013;5:CD006095.
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