Bifidobacterium bifidum clearly preferred honey to other sweeteners, new research from US researchers reveals this week. Scientists from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University investigated the growth and viability of commercial Bifidobacterium spp. in Honey-Sweetened Skim Milk. Two commercial Bifidobacterium bifidum (Bf-1 and Bf-6) were cultured in 12 per cent (wt/vol) reconstituted non-fat dry milk (NDM) containing 5 per cent (wt/wt) honey, sucrose, fructose, or glucose. Inoculated samples were then incubated anaerobically at 37°C for 48 h. Samples were collected at 12-h intervals and examined for (i) specific growth rate, (ii) pH, and (iii) levels of fermentation end products (lactic and acetic acids) as measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Viability of the organisms during 28 days of refrigerated storage at 4°C was also assessed at 7-day intervals. The results revealed that growth promotion and acid production were greatest when Bf-1 and Bf-6 were grown in the presence of honey. For both Bf-1 and Bf-6, retention of viability was greatest up to 14 days of refrigerated storage at 4°C when they were grown and stored in the presence of honey compared to other sweeteners. Full findings are published in the December issue of the Journal of Food Protection: Vol. 64, No. 11, pp. 1775-1779.