Common Food Additive May promote C. diff

An article appearing in Nature suggested that a common food additive known as trehalose might be responsible for the current Clostridium difficile epidemic.

The Nature paper shows us that two of the most virulent strains of C. diff, including the “hypervirulent” ribotype 027, can metabolize even trace amounts of trehalose. They go on to show that when strains are mixed together, low concentrations of trehalose can lead to natural selection for the 027 strain – it can simply outcompete the less virulent strains by metabolizing this scarce resource.

The Nature paper shows us that ribotype 027 can metabolize trehalose, a common food additive that the FDA labeled “safe” in the year 2000 – right when 027 uptick in infections starts to really take off.


See the article on MedPageToday here (free registration). 

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