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. 2013 Mar;62(Pt 3):457-466.
doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.052258-0. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

Prevalence and Characterization of Clostridium Perfringens From the Faecal Microbiota of Elderly Irish Subjects


Prevalence and Characterization of Clostridium Perfringens From the Faecal Microbiota of Elderly Irish Subjects

Bhuvaneswari Lakshminarayanan et al. J Med Microbiol. .


The aim of this study was to investigate the diversity and composition of the intestinal microbiota of elderly subjects using a combination of culture-dependent techniques and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. The study was performed as part of the ELDERMET project, in which 368 faecal samples were assessed for viable numbers of Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Enterobacteriaceae on selective agar. However, the Bifidobacterium selective medium used also supported the growth of Clostridium perfringens, which appeared as distinct colonies and were subsequently characterized phenotypically and genotypically. All the isolates were confirmed as toxin biotype A producers. In addition, three isolates tested also had the genetic determinants for the β2 toxin. Of the 368 faecal samples assessed, C. perfringens was detected in 28 samples (7.6%). Moreover, C. perfringens was observed in samples from subjects in all the residence locations assessed but was most prevalent in subjects from long-stay residential care, with 71.4% of the samples (63.2% of the subjects) being from this residence location, and with a shedding level in excess of 10(6) c.f.u. (g faeces)(-1). Microbiota profiling revealed some significant compositional changes across both the family and genus taxonomic levels between the C. perfringens-positive and -negative datasets. Levels of culturable Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp. were significantly (P<0.05) lower in the C. perfringens-positive samples. Sequence-based methods also confirmed a significant difference in the Bifidobacterium spp. level (P<0.05) between both datasets. Taken together, these data suggest that a high viable count [>10(6) c.f.u. (g faeces)(-1)] of C. perfringens in stool samples may be indicative of a less healthy microbiota in the intestine of elderly people in long-stay residential care.

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