Comparing in vitro faecal fermentation methods as surrogates for phage therapy application

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Ács, Norbert
Holohan, Ross
Dunne, Laura J.
Fernandes, Adrian R.
Clooney, Adam G.
Draper, Lorraine A.
Ross, R. Paul
Hill, Colin
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The human microbiome and its importance in health and disease have been the subject of numerous research articles. Most microbes reside in the digestive tract, with up to 1012 cells per gram of faecal material found in the colon. In terms of gene number, it has been estimated that the gut microbiome harbours >100 times more genes than the human genome. Several human intestinal diseases are strongly associated with disruptions in gut microbiome composition. Less studied components of the gut microbiome are the bacterial viruses called bacteriophages that may be present in numbers equal to or greater than the prokaryotes. Their potential to lyse their bacterial hosts, or to act as agents of horizontal gene transfer makes them important research targets. In this study in vitro faecal fermentation systems were developed and compared for their ability to act as surrogates for the human colon. Changes in bacterial and viral composition occurred after introducing a high-titre single phage preparation both with and without a known bacterial host during the 24 h-long fermentation. We also show that during this timeframe 50 mL plastic tubes can provide data similar to that generated in a sophisticated faecal fermenter system. This knowledge can guide us to a better understanding of the short-term impact of bacteriophage transplants on the bacteriomes and viromes of human recipients.
Bacteriophage , Phageome , Bacteriome , Human gut microbiome , Faecal fermentation
Ács, N., Holohan, R., Dunne, L.J., Fernandes, A.R., Clooney, A.G., Draper, L.A., Ross, R.P. and Hill, C. (2022) ‘Comparing in vitro faecal fermentation methods as surrogates for phage therapy application’, Viruses, 14(12), 2632 (13pp). doi: 10.3390/v14122632
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