Nitrate and a nitrate-reducing Rothia aeria strain as potential prebiotic or synbiotic treatments for periodontitis

Danuta Mazurel, Miguel Carda-Diéguez, Thomas Langenburg, Miglė Žiemytė, William Johnston, Carlos Palazón Martínez, Fernando Albalat, Carmen Llena, Nezar Al-Hebshi, Shauna Culshaw, Alex Mira, Bob T. Rosier

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7 Scopus citations


A few studies indicate that nitrate can reduce dysbiosis from a periodontitis point of view. However, these experiments were performed on samples from healthy individuals, and it is unknown if nitrate will be effective in periodontal patients, where the presence of nitrate-reducing bacteria is clearly reduced. The aim of this study was to test the effect of nitrate and a nitrate-reducing R. aeria (Ra9) on subgingival biofilms of patients with periodontitis. For this, subgingival plaque was incubated with 5 mM nitrate for 7 h (n = 20) or 50 mM nitrate for 12 h (n = 10), achieving a ~50% of nitrate reduction in each case. Additionally, Ra9 was combined with 5 mM nitrate (n = 11), increasing the nitrate reduced and nitrite produced (both p < 0.05). The addition of nitrate to periodontitis communities decreased biofilm mass (50 mM > 5 mM, both p < 0.05). Five millimolar nitrate, 50 mM nitrate and 5 mM nitrate + Ra9 led to 3, 28 and 20 significant changes in species abundance, respectively, which were mostly decreases in periodontitis-associated species. These changes led to a respective 15%, 63% (both p < 0.05) and 6% (not significant) decrease in the dysbiosis index. Using a 10-species biofilm model, decreases in periodontitis-associated species in the presence of nitrate were confirmed by qPCR (all p < 0.05). In conclusion, nitrate metabolism can reduce dysbiosis and biofilm growth of periodontitis communities. Five millimolar nitrate (which can be found in saliva after vegetable intake) was sufficient, while increasing this concentration to 50 mM (which could be achieved by topical applications such as a periodontal gel) increased the positive effects. Ra9 increased the nitrate metabolism of periodontitis communities and should be tested in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Pages (from-to)40
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 17 2023


  • Dysbiosis
  • Humans
  • Nitrates
  • Periodontitis/drug therapy
  • Prebiotics
  • Synbiotics


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