Which bacteria work best in faecal transplants?

Australian researchers believe their findings will change the way ulcerative colitis is treated

Australian doctors have identified which bacteria are good and which are bad when it comes to faecal transplants for ulcerative colitis.


Transplants of faecal matter from healthy donors have already been shown to be capable of putting ulcerative colitis into remission.

What hasn't been known until now is which specific bacteria are best at easing symptoms of the disease, and which ones are ineffective.

But new research has finally started to clear that up, says Dr Nadeem Kaakoush from UNSW School of Medical Sciences.

A research team led by Dr Kaakoush has found remission was associated with Eubacterium and Roseburia (short-chain fatty acid biosynthesis) and secondary bile acids.

A lack of remission was linked to FusobacteriumSutterella and Escherichiaspecies.

Dr Kaakoush and his team say their findings will inform how faecal donors are selected, and how lab-grown mixtures are developed in the future.

"This is a milestone in what will be a longer process of developing microbial mixtures that are effective at inducing remission," he said.

"Many of these microbial-based therapies will end up being individualised down the line as what works for one patient might be a little different from what works in other patients."

The UNSW study was carried out in collaboration with other researchers in Australia and the US and published in the journal Gastroenterology.

More information: Gastroenterology 2018