Bacterial viability in faecal transplants: Which bacteria survive?

Lito E. Papanicolas, Jocelyn Choo, Yanan Wang, Lex E.X. Leong, Samuel P. Costello, David L. Gordon, Steven Wesselingh, Geraint Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The therapeutic potential of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is under investigation for a range of inflammatory conditions. While mechanisms of benefit are poorly understood, most models rely on the viability of transplanted microbes. We hypothesised that protocols commonly used in the preparation of faecal transplants will substantially reduce the number, diversity and functional potential of viable microbes. Methods: Stools from eight screened donors were processed under strict anaerobic conditions, in ambient air, and freeze-thawed. Propidium monoazide (PMA) sample treatment was combined with quantitative PCR, 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) analysis to define the viable microbiota composition and functional potential. Findings: Approximately 50% of bacterial content of stool processed immediately under strict anaerobic conditions was non-viable. Homogenisation in ambient air or freeze-thaw reduced viability to 19% and 23% respectively. Processing of samples in ambient air resulted in up to 12-fold reductions in the abundance of important commensal taxa, including the highly butyrogenic species Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Subdoligranulum variable, and Eubacterium hallii. The adverse impact of atmospheric oxygen exposure on the capacity of the transplanted microbiota to support SCFA biosynthesis was demonstrated by significantly reduced butyrate and acetate production by faecal slurries processed in ambient air. In contrast, while reducing overall levels of viable bacteria, freeze-thaw did not significantly alter viable microbiota composition. Interpretation: The practice of preparing material for faecal transplantation in ambient air profoundly affects viable microbial content, disproportionately reducing the abundance of anaerobic commensals and the capacity for biosynthesis of important anti-inflammatory metabolites. Fund: This work was supported by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. LP is supported by a scholarship from the Flinders Foundation. GR is supported by a Matthew Flinders Research Fellowship.

LanguageEnglish
Pages509-516
Number of pages8
JournalEBioMedicine
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Bacterial viability
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation
  • Propidium monoazide
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Papanicolas, L. E., Choo, J., Wang, Y., Leong, L. E. X., Costello, S. P., Gordon, D. L., ... Rogers, G. (2019). Bacterial viability in faecal transplants: Which bacteria survive? EBioMedicine, 41, 509-516. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.02.023
Papanicolas, Lito E. ; Choo, Jocelyn ; Wang, Yanan ; Leong, Lex E.X. ; Costello, Samuel P. ; Gordon, David L. ; Wesselingh, Steven ; Rogers, Geraint. / Bacterial viability in faecal transplants : Which bacteria survive?. In: EBioMedicine. 2019 ; Vol. 41. pp. 509-516.
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Bacterial viability in faecal transplants : Which bacteria survive? / Papanicolas, Lito E.; Choo, Jocelyn; Wang, Yanan; Leong, Lex E.X.; Costello, Samuel P.; Gordon, David L.; Wesselingh, Steven; Rogers, Geraint.

In: EBioMedicine, Vol. 41, 01.03.2019, p. 509-516.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Papanicolas LE, Choo J, Wang Y, Leong LEX, Costello SP, Gordon DL et al. Bacterial viability in faecal transplants: Which bacteria survive? EBioMedicine. 2019 Mar 1;41:509-516. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.02.023