New Method Gauges Persistence of Donor Microbes After Fecal Transplant

HealthDay News — Researchers say their small study, published in Biofilms and Microbiomes, offers the first proof that therapeutic donor microbes remain for months or years in patients who’ve undergone fecal microbiota transplantation.

The researchers developed a new method utilizing unique single nucleotide variants to identify microbes in paired fecal samples from an individual taken at different times. The study included seven patients.

In 2 of the patients, some donor microbe strains persisted as long as 2 years after a transplant. In 5 others, donor strains persisted for 3 to 6 months, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers.

“The demonstration that certain transplanted microbes can persist for up to 2 years demonstrates the potential of using fecal microbiota transplantation for long-term changes in the composition of the gastrointestinal tract microbe communities,” the authors write, adding that the results offer insights “that are essential for development of new approaches to improve health via manipulation of this complex microbial community.”

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Kumar R, Yi, N, Zhi D, et al. Identification of donor microbe species that colonize and persist long term in the recipient after fecal transplant for recurrent Clostridium difficile. NPJ Biofilms Microbiomes. 2017 Jun 7;3:12. doi: 10.1038/s41522-017-0020-7.