Comparative nutritional and chemical phenome of Clostridium difficile isolates determined using phenotype microarrays

Int J Infect Dis. 2014 Oct;27:20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2014.06.018. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


Objectives: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of infectious diarrhea in North America and Europe. The risk of CDI increases significantly in the case where antimicrobial treatment reduces the number of competing bacteria in the gut, thus leading to the increased availability of nutrients and loss of colonization resistance. The objective of this study was to determine comprehensive nutritional utilization and the chemical sensitivity profile of historic and newer C. difficile isolates and to examine the possible role of the phenotype diversity in C. difficile virulence.

Methods: Phenotype microarrays (PMs) were used to elucidate the complete nutritional and chemical sensitivity profile of six C. difficile isolates.

Results: Of the 760 nutrient sources tested, 285 compounds were utilized by at least one strain. Among the C. difficile isolates compared, R20291, a recent hypervirulent outbreak-associated strain, appears to have an expanded nutrient utilization profile when compared to all other strains.

Conclusions: The expanded nutritional utilization profile of some newer C. difficile strains could be one of the reasons for infections in patients who are not exposed to the hospital environment or not undergoing antibiotic treatment. This nutritional profile could be used to design tube feeding formulas that reduce the risk of CDI.

Keywords: Clostridium difficile; Metabolism; Phenome; Phenotype; Phenotype microarray.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides difficile / drug effects*
  • Clostridioides difficile / metabolism
  • Clostridioides difficile / pathogenicity
  • Clostridioides difficile / physiology*
  • Microarray Analysis / methods
  • Phenotype