The soil-transmitted helminth (STH), Trichuris trichiura colonises the human large intestine where it may modify inflammatory responses, an effect possibly mediated through alterations in the intestinal microbiota. We hypothesised that patent T. trichiura infections would be associated with altered faecal microbiota and that anthelmintic treatment would induce a microbiota resembling more closely that observed in uninfected individuals.
Materials and Methods
School children in Ecuador were screened for STH infections and allocated to 3 groups: uninfected, T. trichiura only, and mixed infections with T. trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides. A sample of uninfected children and those with T. trichiura infections only were given anthelmintic treatment. Bacterial community profiles in faecal samples were studied by 454 pyrosequencing of 16 S rRNA genes.
Microbiota analyses of faeces were done for 97 children: 30 were uninfected, 17 were infected with T. trichiura, and 50 with T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides. Post-treatment samples were analyzed for 14 children initially infected with T. trichiura alone and for 21 uninfected children. Treatment resulted in 100% cure of STH infections. Comparisons of the microbiota at different taxonomic levels showed no statistically significant differences in composition between uninfected children and those with T. trichiura infections. We observed a decreased proportional abundance of a few bacterial genera from the Clostridia class of Firmicutes and a reduced bacterial diversity among children with mixed infections compared to the other two groups, indicating a possible specific effect of A. lumbricoides infection. Anthelmintic treatment of children with T. trichiura did not alter faecal microbiota composition.
Our data indicate that patent human infections with T. trichiura may have no effect on faecal microbiota but that A. lumbricoides colonisation might be associated with a disturbed microbiota. Our results also catalogue the microbiota of rural Ecuadorians and indicate differences with individuals from more urban industrialised societies.
Our understanding of locomotor evolution in anthropoid primates has been limited to those taxa for which good postcranial fossil material and appropriate modern analogues are available. We report the results of an analysis of semicircular canal size variation in 16 fossil anthropoid species dating from the Late Eocene to the Late Miocene, and use these data to reconstruct evolutionary changes in locomotor adaptations in anthropoid primates over the last 35 Ma. Phylogenetically informed regression analyses of semicircular canal size reveal three important aspects of anthropoid locomotor evolution: (i) the earliest anthropoid primates engaged in relatively slow locomotor behaviours, suggesting that this was the basal anthropoid pattern; (ii) platyrrhines from the Miocene of South America were relatively agile compared with earlier anthropoids; and (iii) while the last common ancestor of cercopithecoids and hominoids likely was relatively slow like earlier stem catarrhines, the results suggest that the basal crown catarrhine may have been a relatively agile animal. The latter scenario would indicate that hominoids of the later Miocene secondarily derived their relatively slow locomotor repertoires.
vestibular system; generalized least-squares analysis; primates
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding molecules that control gene expression posttranscriptionally, with microRNA-155 (miR-155) one of the first to be implicated in immune regulation. Here, we show that miR-155-deficient mice are less able to eradicate a mucosal Citrobacter rodentium infection than wild-type C57BL/6 mice. miR-155-deficient mice exhibited prolonged colonization associated with a higher C. rodentium burden in gastrointestinal tissue and spread into systemic tissues. Germinal center formation and humoral immune responses against C. rodentium were severely impaired in infected miR-155-deficient mice. A similarly susceptible phenotype was observed in μMT mice reconstituted with miR-155-deficient B cells, indicating that miR-155 is required intrinsically for mediating protection against this predominantly luminal bacterial pathogen.
Relapsing C. difficile disease in humans is linked to a pathological imbalance within the intestinal microbiota, termed dysbiosis, which remains poorly understood. We show that mice infected with epidemic C. difficile (genotype 027/BI) develop highly contagious, chronic intestinal disease and persistent dysbiosis characterized by a distinct, simplified microbiota containing opportunistic pathogens and altered metabolite production. Chronic C. difficile 027/BI infection was refractory to vancomycin treatment leading to relapsing disease. In contrast, treatment of C. difficile 027/BI infected mice with feces from healthy mice rapidly restored a diverse, healthy microbiota and resolved C. difficile disease and contagiousness. We used this model to identify a simple mixture of six phylogenetically diverse intestinal bacteria, including novel species, which can re-establish a health-associated microbiota and clear C. difficile 027/BI infection from mice. Thus, targeting a dysbiotic microbiota with a defined mixture of phylogenetically diverse bacteria can trigger major shifts in the microbial community structure that displaces C. difficile and, as a result, resolves disease and contagiousness. Further, we demonstrate a rational approach to harness the therapeutic potential of health-associated microbial communities to treat C. difficile disease and potentially other forms of intestinal dysbiosis.
Pathological imbalances within the intestinal microbiota, termed dysbiosis, are often associated with chronic Clostridium difficile infections in humans. We show that infection of mice with the healthcare pathogen C. difficile leads to persistent intestinal dysbiosis that is associated with chronic disease and a highly contagious state. Using this model we rationally designed a simple mixture of phylogenetically diverse intestinal bacteria that can disrupt intestinal dysbiosis and as a result resolve disease and contagiousness. Our results validate the microbiota as a viable therapeutic target and open the way to rationally design bacteriotherapy to treat chronic C. difficile infections and potentially other forms of persistent dysbiosis.
Mice lacking the transcription factor T-bet in the innate immune system develop microbiota-dependent colitis. Here, we show that interleukin-17A (IL-17A)-producing IL-7Rα+ innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) were potent promoters of disease in Tbx21−/−Rag2−/− ulcerative colitis (TRUC) mice. TNF-α produced by CD103−CD11b+ dendritic cells synergized with IL-23 to drive IL-17A production by ILCs, demonstrating a previously unrecognized layer of cellular crosstalk between dendritic cells and ILCs. We have identified Helicobacter typhlonius as a key disease trigger driving excess TNF-α production and promoting colitis in TRUC mice. Crucially, T-bet also suppressed the expression of IL-7R, a key molecule involved in controlling intestinal ILC homeostasis. The importance of IL-7R signaling in TRUC disease was highlighted by the dramatic reduction in intestinal ILCs and attenuated colitis following IL-7R blockade. Taken together, these data demonstrate the mechanism by which T-bet regulates the complex interplay between mucosal dendritic cells, ILCs, and the intestinal microbiota.
► Chronic colitis in TRUC mice was mediated by IL-17-producing innate lymphoid cells ► TNF-α synergized with IL-23 to induce innate IL-17 production ► Helicobacter typhlonius triggered intestinal pathology in TRUC mice ► T-bet regulated IL-7R transcription, a key checkpoint in intestinal ILC homeostasis
To identify, compare and contrast the microbiota in patients with and without pouchitis after RPC for UC and FAP.
Summary Background Data
Pouchitis is the most common complication following restorative proctocolectomy (RPC). An abnormal host-microbial interaction has been implicated. We investigated the pouch microbiota in patients with and without pouchitis undergoing restorative proctocolectomy for UC and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
Mucosal pouch biopsies, taken from 16 UC (pouchitis 8) and 8 FAP (pouchitis 3) patients were analysed to the species (or phylotype) level by cloning and sequencing of 3,184 full-length bacterial 16S rRNA genes.
There was a significant increase in Proteobacteria (p= 0.019) and a significant decrease in Bacteroidetes (p= 0.001) and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (p=0.029) in the total UC compared to the total FAP cohort, but only limited differences were found between the UC non-pouchitis and pouchitis groups and the FAP pouchitis and non-pouchitis groups. Bacterial diversity in the FAP non-pouchitis group was significantly greater than in UC non-pouchitis (p= 0.019) and significantly greater in UC non-pouchitis compared to UC pouchitis (p= 0.009). No individual species or phylotype specifically associated with either UC or FAP pouchitis was found.
UC pouch patients have a different, less diverse, gut microbiota than FAP patients. A further reduction in bacterial diversity but no significant dysbiosis occurs in those with pouchitis. The study suggests that a dysbiosis occurs in the ileal pouch of UC RPC patients which predisposes to, but may not directly cause, pouchitis.
Estimating bacterial community composition from a mixed sample in different applied contexts is an important task for many microbiologists. The bacterial community composition is commonly estimated by clustering polymerase chain reaction amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences. Current taxonomy-independent clustering methods for analyzing these sequences, such as UCLUST, ESPRIT-Tree and CROP, have two limitations: (i) expert knowledge is needed, i.e. a difference cutoff between species needs to be specified; (ii) closely related species cannot be separated. The first limitation imposes a burden on the user, since considerable effort is needed to select appropriate parameters, whereas the second limitation leads to an inaccurate description of the underlying bacterial community composition. We propose a probabilistic model-based method to estimate bacterial community composition which tackles these limitations. Our method requires very little expert knowledge, where only the possible maximum number of clusters needs to be specified. Also our method demonstrates its ability to separate closely related species in two experiments, in spite of sequencing errors and individual variations.
The populations of dominant species within the human colonic microbiota can potentially be modified by dietary intake with consequences for health. Here we examined the influence of precisely controlled diets in 14 overweight men. Volunteers were provided successively with a control diet, diets high in resistant starch (RS) or non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs) and a reduced carbohydrate weight loss (WL) diet, over 10 weeks. Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences in stool samples of six volunteers detected 320 phylotypes (defined at >98% identity) of which 26, including 19 cultured species, each accounted for >1% of sequences. Although samples clustered more strongly by individual than by diet, time courses obtained by targeted qPCR revealed that ‘blooms' in specific bacterial groups occurred rapidly after a dietary change. These were rapidly reversed by the subsequent diet. Relatives of Ruminococcus bromii (R-ruminococci) increased in most volunteers on the RS diet, accounting for a mean of 17% of total bacteria compared with 3.8% on the NSP diet, whereas the uncultured Oscillibacter group increased on the RS and WL diets. Relatives of Eubacterium rectale increased on RS (to mean 10.1%) but decreased, along with Collinsella aerofaciens, on WL. Inter-individual variation was marked, however, with >60% of RS remaining unfermented in two volunteers on the RS diet, compared to <4% in the other 12 volunteers; these two individuals also showed low numbers of R-ruminococci (<1%). Dietary non-digestible carbohydrate can produce marked changes in the gut microbiota, but these depend on the initial composition of an individual's gut microbiota.
human colon; resistant starch; 16S rRNA; phylotypes; Ruminococcus; temporal change
The populations of dominant species within the human colonic microbiota can potentially be modified by dietary intake with consequences for health. Here we examined the influence of precisely controlled diets in 14 overweight males. Volunteers were provided successively with a control diet, diets high in resistant starch (RS) or non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), and a reduced carbohydrate weight loss (WL) diet, over 10 weeks. Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences in stool samples of six volunteers detected 320 phylotypes (defined at >98% identity) of which 26, including 19 cultured species, each accounted for >1% of sequences. Although samples clustered more strongly by individual than by diet, time courses obtained by targeted qPCR revealed that “blooms” in specific bacterial groups occurred rapidly following a dietary change. These were rapidly reversed by the subsequent diet. Relatives of Ruminococcus bromii (“R-ruminococci”) increased in most volunteers on the RS diet, accounting for a mean of 17% of total bacteria compared with 3.8% on the NSP diet, while the uncultured Oscillibacter group increased on the RS and WL diets. Relatives of Eubacterium rectale increased on RS (to mean 10.1%) but decreased, along with Collinsella aerofaciens, on WL. Inter-individual variation was marked, however, with >60% of resistant starch remaining unfermented in two volunteers on the RS diet, compared to <4% in the other 12 volunteers; these two individuals also showed low numbers of R-ruminococci (<1%). Dietary non-digestible carbohydrate can produce marked changes in the gut microbiota, but these depend on the initial composition of an individual’s gut microbiota.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients suffer from chronic bacterial lung infections that lead to death in the majority of cases. The need to maintain lung function in these patients means that characterising these infections is vital. Increasingly, culture-independent analyses are expanding the number of bacterial species associated with CF respiratory samples; however, the potential significance of these species is not known. Here, we applied ecological statistical tools to such culture-independent data, in a novel manner, to partition taxa within the metacommunity into core and satellite species. Sputa and clinical data were obtained from 14 clinically stable adult CF patients. Fourteen rRNA gene libraries were constructed with 35 genera and 82 taxa, identified in 2139 bacterial clones. Shannon–Wiener and taxa-richness analyses confirmed no undersampling of bacterial diversity. By decomposing the distribution using the ratio of variance to the mean taxon abundance, we partitioned objectively the species abundance distribution into core and satellite species. The satellite group comprised 67 bacterial taxa from 33 genera and the core group, 15 taxa from 7 genera (including Pseudomonas (1 taxon), Streptococcus (2), Neisseria (2), Catonella (1), Porphyromonas (1), Prevotella (5) and Veillonella (3)], the last four being anaerobes). The core group was dominated by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Other recognised CF pathogens were rare. Mantel and partial Mantel tests assessed which clinical factors influenced the composition observed. CF transmembrane conductance regulator genotype and antibiotic treatment correlated with all core taxa. Lung function correlated with richness. The clinical significance of these core and satellite species findings in the CF lung is discussed.
commonness and rarity; oral microbiota; polymicrobial infections; pulmonary disease; species abundance distributions
The gut microbiota is thought to play a key role in the development of the inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Shifts in the composition of resident bacteria have been postulated to drive the chronic inflammation seen in both diseases (the "dysbiosis" hypothesis). We therefore specifically sought to compare the mucosa-associated microbiota from both inflamed and non-inflamed sites of the colon in CD and UC patients to that from non-IBD controls and to detect disease-specific profiles.
Paired mucosal biopsies of inflamed and non-inflamed intestinal tissue from 6 CD (n = 12) and 6 UC (n = 12) patients were compared to biopsies from 5 healthy controls (n = 5) by in-depth sequencing of over 10,000 near full-length bacterial 16S rRNA genes. The results indicate that mucosal microbial diversity is reduced in IBD, particularly in CD, and that the species composition is disturbed. Firmicutes were reduced in IBD samples and there were concurrent increases in Bacteroidetes, and in CD only, Enterobacteriaceae. There were also significant differences in microbial community structure between inflamed and non-inflamed mucosal sites. However, these differences varied greatly between individuals, meaning there was no obvious bacterial signature that was positively associated with the inflamed gut.
These results may support the hypothesis that the overall dysbiosis observed in inflammatory bowel disease patients relative to non-IBD controls might to some extent be a result of the disturbed gut environment rather than the direct cause of disease. Nonetheless, the observed shifts in microbiota composition may be important factors in disease maintenance and severity.
It is well documented that the translation of knowledge into clinical practice is a slow and haphazard process. This is no less true for dental healthcare than other types of healthcare. One common policy strategy to help promote knowledge translation is the production of clinical guidance, but it has been demonstrated that the simple publication of guidance is unlikely to optimise practice. Additional knowledge translation interventions have been shown to be effective, but effectiveness varies and much of this variation is unexplained. The need for researchers to move beyond single studies to develop a generalisable, theory based, knowledge translation framework has been identified.
For dentistry in Scotland, the production of clinical guidance is the responsibility of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP). TRiaDS (Translation Research in a Dental Setting) is a multidisciplinary research collaboration, embedded within the SDCEP guidance development process, which aims to establish a practical evaluative framework for the translation of guidance and to conduct and evaluate a programme of integrated, multi-disciplinary research to enhance the science of knowledge translation.
Set in General Dental Practice the TRiaDS programmatic evaluation employs a standardised process using optimal methods and theory. For each SDCEP guidance document a diagnostic analysis is undertaken alongside the guidance development process. Information is gathered about current dental care activities. Key recommendations and their required behaviours are identified and prioritised. Stakeholder questionnaires and interviews are used to identify and elicit salient beliefs regarding potential barriers and enablers towards the key recommendations and behaviours. Where possible routinely collected data are used to measure compliance with the guidance and to inform decisions about whether a knowledge translation intervention is required. Interventions are theory based and informed by evidence gathered during the diagnostic phase and by prior published evidence. They are evaluated using a range of experimental and quasi-experimental study designs, and data collection continues beyond the end of the intervention to investigate the sustainability of an intervention effect.
The TRiaDS programmatic approach is a significant step forward towards the development of a practical, generalisable framework for knowledge translation research. The multidisciplinary composition of the TRiaDS team enables consideration of the individual, organisational and system determinants of professional behaviour change. In addition the embedding of TRiaDS within a national programme of guidance development offers a unique opportunity to inform and influence the guidance development process, and enables TRiaDS to inform dental services practitioners, policy makers and patients on how best to translate national recommendations into routine clinical activities.
Clostridium difficile persists in hospitals by exploiting an infection cycle that is dependent on humans shedding highly resistant and infectious spores. Here we show that human virulent C. difficile can asymptomatically colonize the intestines of immunocompetent mice, establishing a carrier state that persists for many months. C. difficile carrier mice consistently shed low levels of spores but, surprisingly, do not transmit infection to cohabiting mice. However, antibiotic treatment of carriers triggers a highly contagious supershedder state, characterized by a dramatic reduction in the intestinal microbiota species diversity, C. difficile overgrowth, and excretion of high levels of spores. Stopping antibiotic treatment normally leads to recovery of the intestinal microbiota species diversity and suppresses C. difficile levels, although some mice persist in the supershedding state for extended periods. Spore-mediated transmission to immunocompetent mice treated with antibiotics results in self-limiting mucosal inflammation of the large intestine. In contrast, transmission to mice whose innate immune responses are compromised (Myd88−/−) leads to a severe intestinal disease that is often fatal. Thus, mice can be used to investigate distinct stages of the C. difficile infection cycle and can serve as a valuable surrogate for studying the spore-mediated transmission and interactions between C. difficile and the host and its microbiota, and the results obtained should guide infection control measures.
cystic fibrosis; gut microbiota; bacterial commuity profiling
This work centres on the genomic comparisons of two closely-related nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria, Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae 3841 and Rhizobium etli CFN42. These strains maintain a stable genomic core that is also common to other rhizobia species plus a very variable and significant accessory component. The chromosomes are highly syntenic, whereas plasmids are related by fewer syntenic blocks and have mosaic structures. The pairs of plasmids p42f-pRL12, p42e-pRL11 and p42b-pRL9 as well large parts of p42c with pRL10 are shown to be similar, whereas the symbiotic plasmids (p42d and pRL10) are structurally unrelated and seem to follow distinct evolutionary paths. Even though purifying selection is acting on the whole genome, the accessory component is evolving more rapidly. This component is constituted largely for proteins for transport of diverse metabolites and elements of external origin. The present analysis allows us to conclude that a heterogeneous and quickly diversifying group of plasmids co-exists in a common genomic framework.
We examined the influence of host immunity on the genotypic diversity of the intracellular transforming cattle parasite Theileria parva. By tracking the emergence of discrete parasite genotypes in an animal challenged with a bulk stabilate following immunization with its major component clone, we observed a profound modulation of genotypic frequencies in the breakthrough schizont population. In particular, no incidences of the immunizing clone were observed and a progressive decline was apparent in the relatedness of breakthrough genotypes to it. These observations were reflected in the genotypic profile of transmissible parasite stages that emerged in the erythrocyte fraction of the animal and in parasite progeny generated by tick pickup. In a separate experiment, genotypic profiles of breakthrough parasite populations were observed to vary between unrelated immune animals selected on the basis of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I phenotype, a known determinant of the specificity of the immune response. Furthermore, immunization and challenge of calves with molecularly distinct but cross-protective parasite populations revealed that infection results in transmissible erythrocyte forms in spite of a protective immune response. These observations suggest that immunity does not prevent transmission of challenge parasites and that its impact on the parasite at a population level is influenced by herd MHC diversity.
Most mucosal surfaces of the mammalian body are colonized by microbial communities (“microbiota”). A high density of commensal microbiota inhabits the intestine and shields from infection (“colonization resistance”). The virulence strategies allowing enteropathogenic bacteria to successfully compete with the microbiota and overcome colonization resistance are poorly understood. Here, we investigated manipulation of the intestinal microbiota by the enteropathogenic bacterium Salmonella enterica subspecies 1 serovar Typhimurium (S. Tm) in a mouse colitis model: we found that inflammatory host responses induced by S. Tm changed microbiota composition and suppressed its growth. In contrast to wild-type S. Tm, an avirulent invGsseD mutant failing to trigger colitis was outcompeted by the microbiota. This competitive defect was reverted if inflammation was provided concomitantly by mixed infection with wild-type S. Tm or in mice (IL10−/−, VILLIN-HACL4-CD8) with inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, inflammation is necessary and sufficient for overcoming colonization resistance. This reveals a new concept in infectious disease: in contrast to current thinking, inflammation is not always detrimental for the pathogen. Triggering the host's immune defence can shift the balance between the protective microbiota and the pathogen in favour of the pathogen.
A dense microbial community colonizes the intestinal tract of mammals, contributing to health and nutrition and conferring efficient protection against most pathogenic intruders. Intestinal pathogens can overcome this colonization resistance and cause disease; however, the mechanisms used to do this are still elusive. In this study we analyzed intestinal infection by the model pathogen Salmonella enterica subspecies 1 serovar Typhimurium (S. Tm). We show that the virulent wild-type pathogen overcomes colonization resistance by inducing the host's inflammatory immune response and exploiting it for its purpose. In contrast, an avirulent Salmonella mutant defective in triggering inflammation was unable to overcome colonization resistance by itself. Colonization by this mutant was restored if inflammation was provided concomitantly, in mice with inflammatory bowel disease (genetic and inducible) or by co-infection with wild-type S. Tm. These findings reveal a previously unrecognized strategy by which pathogenic bacteria overcome colonization resistance: abusing the host's inflammatory immune response to gain an edge against the normal microbial community of the gut. This represents a first step towards unravelling the molecular mechanisms underlying this three-way interaction of host, microbiota, and pathogens.
Inducing inflammation is key to the ability of the virulent pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to outcompete the protective resident microbiota in a race to colonize the gut.
We evaluated sexual recombination in the apicomplexan parasite Theileria parva using genome-wide marker analysis of haploid sporozoite populations obtained from infected Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks. Analysis of 231 parasite clones derived by in vitro infection of bovine lymphocytes revealed 48 distinct combinations of 64 polymorphic marker loci. One genotype accounted for more than 75% of the clones, and the population was highly inbred with respect to this. The occurrence of frequent recombination was evident from reassortment of contiguous markers in blocks, with some recombination occurring within blocks. Analysis of four polymorphic loci encoding antigens targeted by protective cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte responses confirmed that these loci reassort, both within and between chromosomes, suggesting that recombination may influence immune recognition. Marker analysis of a panel of 142 clones derived from the population after an additional passage through a calf and the same tick colony revealed 18 genotypes, with the original dominant genotype accounting for 75% of the population and a higher level of inbreeding with respect to it in the remaining clones. Selected marker analysis of genomic DNA from these stabilates and the two preceding generations of the isolate, each derived from distinct tick colonies, revealed shifts in population structure with each generation, suggesting that the tick vector may impose nonrandom selective pressure on the parasite.
Phylogenetic analysis was used to compare 16S rRNA sequences from 19 cultured human gut strains of Roseburia and Eubacterium rectale with 356 related sequences derived from clone libraries. The cultured strains were found to represent five of the six phylotypes identified. A new oligonucleotide probe, Rrec584, and the previous group probe Rint623, when used in conjunction with a new helper oligonucleotide, each recognized an average of 7% of bacteria detected by the eubacterial probe Eub338 in feces from 10 healthy volunteers. Most of the diversity within this important group of butyrate-producing gut bacteria can apparently be retrieved through cultivation.
The effects of changes in the gut environment upon the human colonic microbiota are poorly understood. The response of human fecal microbial communities from two donors to alterations in pH (5.5 or 6.5) and peptides (0.6 or 0.1%) was studied here in anaerobic continuous cultures supplied with a mixed carbohydrate source. Final butyrate concentrations were markedly higher at pH 5.5 (0.6% peptide mean, 24.9 mM; 0.1% peptide mean, 13.8 mM) than at pH 6.5 (0.6% peptide mean, 5.3 mM; 0.1% peptide mean, 7.6 mM). At pH 5.5 and 0.6% peptide input, a high butyrate production coincided with decreasing acetate concentrations. The highest propionate concentrations (mean, 20.6 mM) occurred at pH 6.5 and 0.6% peptide input. In parallel, major bacterial groups were monitored by using fluorescence in situ hybridization with a panel of specific 16S rRNA probes. Bacteroides levels increased from ca. 20 to 75% of total eubacteria after a shift from pH 5.5 to 6.5, at 0.6% peptide, coinciding with high propionate formation. Conversely, populations of the butyrate-producing Roseburia group were highest (11 to 19%) at pH 5.5 but fell at pH 6.5, a finding that correlates with butyrate formation. When tested in batch culture, three Bacteroides species grew well at pH 6.7 but poorly at pH 5.5, which is consistent with the behavior observed for the mixed community. Two Roseburia isolates grew equally well at pH 6.7 and 5.5. These findings suggest that a lowering of pH resulting from substrate fermentation in the colon may boost butyrate production and populations of butyrate-producing bacteria, while at the same time curtailing the growth of Bacteroides spp.