Long-term colonisation with donor bacteriophages following successful faecal microbial transplantation

L. A. Draper, Feargal Ryan, M. K. Smith, J. Jalanka, E. Mattila, P. A. Arkkila, R. P. Ross, R. Satokari, C. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is used in the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Its success is typically attributed to the restoration of a diverse microbiota. Viruses (including bacteriophages) are the most numerically dominant and potentially the most diverse members of the microbiota, but their fate following FMT has not been well studied. Results: We studied viral transfer following FMT from 3 donors to 14 patients. Recipient viromes resembled those of their donors for up to 12 months. Tracking individual bacteriophage colonisation revealed that engraftment of individual bacteriophages was dependent on specific donor-recipient pairings. Specifically, multiple recipients from a single donor displayed highly individualised virus colonisation patterns. Conclusions: The impact of viruses on long-term microbial dynamics is a factor that should be reviewed when considering FMT as a therapeutic option.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2018


  • Bacteriophages
  • Donor-recipient
  • Engraftment
  • Faecal microbiota transplantation
  • Persistence
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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