• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of gutGutView this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Gut. Jun 1996; 38(6): 870–877.
PMCID: PMC1383195

Relations between transit time, fermentation products, and hydrogen consuming flora in healthy humans.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS: To investigate whether transit time could influence H2 consuming flora and certain indices of colonic bacterial fermentation. METHODS: Eight healthy volunteers (four methane excretors and four non-methane excretors) were studied for three, three week periods during which they received a controlled diet alone (control period), and then the same diet with cisapride or loperamide. At the end of each period, mean transit time (MTT) was estimated, an H2 lactulose breath test was performed, and stools were analysed. RESULTS: In the control period, transit time was inversely related to faecal weight, sulphate reducing bacteria counts, concentrations of total short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), propionic and butyric acids, and H2 excreted in breath after lactulose ingestion. Conversely, transit time was positively related to faecal pH and tended to be related to methanogen counts. Methanogenic bacteria counts were inversely related to those of sulphate reducing bacteria and methane excretors had slower MTT and lower sulphate reducing bacteria counts than non-methane excretors. Compared with the control period, MTT was significantly shortened (p < 0.05) by cisapride and prolonged (p < 0.05) by loperamide (73 (11) hours, 47 (5) hours and 147 (12) hours for control, cisapride, and loperamide, respectively, mean (SD)). Cisapride reduced transit time was associated with (a) a significant rise in faecal weight, sulphate reducing bacteria, concentrations of total SCFAs, and propionic and butyric acids and breath H2 as well as (b) a significant fall in faecal pH and breath CH4 excretion, and (c) a non-significant decrease in the counts of methanogenic bacteria. Reverse relations were roughly the same during the loperamide period including a significant rise in the counts of methanogenic bacteria and a significant fall in those of sulphate reducing bacteria. CONCLUSIONS: Transit time differences between healthy volunteers are associated with differences in H2 consuming flora and certain indices of colonic fermentation. Considering the effects of some fermentation products on intestinal morphology and function, these variations may be relevant to the pathogenesis of colorectal diseases.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.5M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Gorbach SL, Nahas L, Lerner PI, Weinstein L. Studies of intestinal microflora. I. Effects of diet, age, and periodic sampling on numbers of fecal microorganisms in man. Gastroenterology. 1967 Dec;53(6):845–855. [PubMed]
  • Simon GL, Gorbach SL. Intestinal flora in health and disease. Gastroenterology. 1984 Jan;86(1):174–193. [PubMed]
  • Høverstad T, Fausa O, Bjørneklett A, Bøhmer T. Short-chain fatty acids in the normal human feces. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1984 May;19(3):375–381. [PubMed]
  • Rasmussen HS, Holtug K, Andersen JR, Krag E, Mortensen PB. The influence of ispaghula husk and lactulose on the in vivo and the in vitro production capacity of short-chain fatty acids in humans. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1987 May;22(4):406–410. [PubMed]
  • Weaver GA, Krause JA, Miller TL, Wolin MJ. Constancy of glucose and starch fermentations by two different human faecal microbial communities. Gut. 1989 Jan;30(1):19–25. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McBurney MI, Thompson LU. Effect of human faecal donor on in vitro fermentation variables. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1989 Apr;24(3):359–367. [PubMed]
  • Bond JH, Jr, Levitt MD. Use of pulmonary hydrogen (H 2 ) measurements to quantitate carbohydrate absorption. Study of partially gastrectomized patients. J Clin Invest. 1972 May;51(5):1219–1225. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hill MJ. Diet and the human intestinal bacterial flora. Cancer Res. 1981 Sep;41(9 Pt 2):3778–3780. [PubMed]
  • Florin TH, Jabbar IA. A possible role for bile acid in the control of methanogenesis and the accumulation of hydrogen gas in the human colon. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1994 Mar-Apr;9(2):112–117. [PubMed]
  • Chapman RW, Sillery JK, Graham MM, Saunders DR. Absorption of starch by healthy ileostomates: effect of transit time and of carbohydrate load. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Jun;41(6):1244–1248. [PubMed]
  • Holgate AM, Read NW. Relationship between small bowel transit time and absorption of a solid meal. Influence of metoclopramide, magnesium sulfate, and lactulose. Dig Dis Sci. 1983 Sep;28(9):812–819. [PubMed]
  • Stephen AM, Cummings JH. The microbial contribution to human faecal mass. J Med Microbiol. 1980 Feb;13(1):45–56. [PubMed]
  • Stephen AM, Wiggins HS, Cummings JH. Effect of changing transit time on colonic microbial metabolism in man. Gut. 1987 May;28(5):601–609. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Isaacson HR, Hinds FC, Bryant MP, Owens FN. Efficiency of energy utilization by mixed rumen bacteria in continuous culture. J Dairy Sci. 1975 Nov;58(11):1645–1659. [PubMed]
  • Silley P, Armstrong DG. Changes in metabolism of the rumen bacterium Streptococcus bovis H13/1 resulting from alteration in dilution rate and glucose supply per unit time. J Appl Bacteriol. 1984 Oct;57(2):345–353. [PubMed]
  • Strocchi A, Levitt MD. Factors affecting hydrogen production and consumption by human fecal flora. The critical roles of hydrogen tension and methanogenesis. J Clin Invest. 1992 Apr;89(4):1304–1311. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Stephen AM, Wiggins HS, Englyst HN, Cole TJ, Wayman BJ, Cummings JH. The effect of age, sex and level of intake of dietary fibre from wheat on large-bowel function in thirty healthy subjects. Br J Nutr. 1986 Sep;56(2):349–361. [PubMed]
  • Mah RA, Ward DM, Baresi L, Glass TL. Biogenesis of methane. Annu Rev Microbiol. 1977;31:309–341. [PubMed]
  • McKay LF, Eastwood MA, Brydon WG. Methane excretion in man--a study of breath, flatus, and faeces. Gut. 1985 Jan;26(1):69–74. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McIntyre AS, Thompson DG, Day S, Burnham WR, Walker ER. Modulation of human upper intestinal nutrient transit by a beta adrenoreceptor mediated pathway. Gut. 1992 Aug;33(8):1062–1070. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cloarec D, Bruley Des Varannes S, Bizais Y, Lehur PA, Galmiche JP. Reproductibilité du temps de transit oro-caecal et de la production d'hydrogène mesurés par les tests respiratoires. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1992;16(5):388–394. [PubMed]
  • Bond JH, Jr, Levitt MD, Prentiss R. Investigation of small bowel transit time in man utilizing pulmonary hydrogen (H2) measurements. J Lab Clin Med. 1975 Apr;85(4):546–555. [PubMed]
  • Read NW, Miles CA, Fisher D, Holgate AM, Kime ND, Mitchell MA, Reeve AM, Roche TB, Walker M. Transit of a meal through the stomach, small intestine, and colon in normal subjects and its role in the pathogenesis of diarrhea. Gastroenterology. 1980 Dec;79(6):1276–1282. [PubMed]
  • Colombel JF, Flourie B, Neut C, Florent C, Leblond A, Rambaud JC. La méthanogenèse chez l'homme. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1987 Oct;11(10):694–700. [PubMed]
  • Cummings JH, Jenkins DJ, Wiggins HS. Measurement of the mean transit time of dietary residue through the human gut. Gut. 1976 Mar;17(3):210–218. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Raibaud P, Dickinson AB, Sacquet E, Charlier H, Mocquot G. La microflore du tube digestif du rat. I. Techniques d'étude et milieux de culture proposés. Ann Inst Pasteur (Paris) 1966 Apr;110(4):568–590. [PubMed]
  • Balch WE, Fox GE, Magrum LJ, Woese CR, Wolfe RS. Methanogens: reevaluation of a unique biological group. Microbiol Rev. 1979 Jun;43(2):260–296. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pochart P, Lémann F, Flourié B, Pellier P, Goderel I, Rambaud JC. Pyxigraphic sampling to enumerate methanogens and anaerobes in the right colon of healthy humans. Gastroenterology. 1993 Nov;105(5):1281–1285. [PubMed]
  • Greening RC, Leedle JA. Enrichment and isolation of Acetitomaculum ruminis, gen. nov., sp. nov.: acetogenic bacteria from the bovine rumen. Arch Microbiol. 1989;151(5):399–406. [PubMed]
  • McBurney MI, Thompson LU. Effect of human faecal inoculum on in vitro fermentation variables. Br J Nutr. 1987 Sep;58(2):233–243. [PubMed]
  • Bond JH, Jr, Engel RR, Levitt MD. Factors influencing pulmonary methane excretion in man. An indirect method of studying the in situ metabolism of the methane-producing colonic bacteria. J Exp Med. 1971 Mar 1;133(3):572–588. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Miller TL, Wolin MJ. Stability of Methanobrevibacter smithii populations in the microbial flora excreted from the human large bowel. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983 Jan;45(1):317–318. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pochart P, Doré J, Lémann F, Goderel I, Rambaud JC. Interrelations between populations of methanogenic archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria in the human colon. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1992 Nov 1;77(1-3):225–228. [PubMed]
  • Strocchi A, Furne JK, Ellis CJ, Levitt MD. Competition for hydrogen by human faecal bacteria: evidence for the predominance of methane producing bacteria. Gut. 1991 Dec;32(12):1498–1501. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Christl SU, Gibson GR, Cummings JH. Role of dietary sulphate in the regulation of methanogenesis in the human large intestine. Gut. 1992 Sep;33(9):1234–1238. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hammer HF. Colonic hydrogen absorption: quantification of its effect on hydrogen accumulation caused by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates. Gut. 1993 Jun;34(6):818–822. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Christl SU, Murgatroyd PR, Gibson GR, Cummings JH. Production, metabolism, and excretion of hydrogen in the large intestine. Gastroenterology. 1992 Apr;102(4 Pt 1):1269–1277. [PubMed]
  • Read NW, Al-Janabi MN, Bates TE, Holgate AM, Cann PA, Kinsman RI, McFarlane A, Brown C. Interpretation of the breath hydrogen profile obtained after ingesting a solid meal containing unabsorbable carbohydrate. Gut. 1985 Aug;26(8):834–842. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lajoie SF, Bank S, Miller TL, Wolin MJ. Acetate production from hydrogen and [13C]carbon dioxide by the microflora of human feces. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1988 Nov;54(11):2723–2727. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gibson GR, Cummings JH, Macfarlane GT, Allison C, Segal I, Vorster HH, Walker AR. Alternative pathways for hydrogen disposal during fermentation in the human colon. Gut. 1990 Jun;31(6):679–683. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Flourié B, Pellier P, Florent C, Marteau P, Pochart P, Rambaud JC. Site and substrates for methane production in human colon. Am J Physiol. 1991 May;260(5 Pt 1):G752–G757. [PubMed]
  • Macfarlane GT, Englyst HN. Starch utilization by the human large intestinal microflora. J Appl Bacteriol. 1986 Mar;60(3):195–201. [PubMed]
  • Scheppach W, Fabian C, Sachs M, Kasper H. The effect of starch malabsorption on fecal short-chain fatty acid excretion in man. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1988 Aug;23(6):755–759. [PubMed]
  • Finlayson HJ. The effect of pH on the growth and metabolism of Streptococcus bovis in continuous culture. J Appl Bacteriol. 1986 Sep;61(3):201–208. [PubMed]
  • Goodlad JS, Mathers JC. Large bowel fermentation in rats given diets containing raw peas (Pisum sativum). Br J Nutr. 1990 Sep;64(2):569–587. [PubMed]
  • Mathers JC, Dawson LD. Large bowel fermentation in rats eating processed potatoes. Br J Nutr. 1991 Sep;66(2):313–329. [PubMed]
  • McNeil NI, Cummings JH, James WP. Short chain fatty acid absorption by the human large intestine. Gut. 1978 Sep;19(9):819–822. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Schlegel HG. The fifth A.J. Kluyver Memorial Lecture delivered before the Netherlands Society for Microbiology on October 9th, 1975, at the Delft University of Technology, Delft. The physiology of hydrogen bacteria. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 1976;42(3):181–201. [PubMed]

Articles from Gut are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Compound
    Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...