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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Nov 16;1472(3):550-4.

Clostridium innocuum: a glucoseureide-splitting inhabitant of the human intestinal tract.

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  • 1University of Rostock, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital, Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 100888, 18055, Rostock, Germany.


Glycosylureides were recently described as non-invasive markers of intestinal transit time. The underlying principle is an enzymatic splitting of (13)C-labelled ureides by intestinal bacteria. The (13)CO(2) released from the urea moiety of the glycosylureides can be measured in breath samples when the ingested tracer substrate reaches the caecum that is colonised with microbes. To date, the microbes that degrade glycosylureides are unknown. In order to identify the glucoseureide (GU)-splitting bacteria, 174 different strains of intestinal microbes obtained from five healthy adults were checked for their ability to degrade GU. The results of the microbial cultures and thin layer chromatography revealed that GU was exclusively degraded by Clostridium innocuum, belonging to the normal human intestinal microflora. C. innocuum probably synthesises a yet unknown enzyme that splits the glucose-urea bond. We suggest that the term glucoseureidehydrolase is the appropriate designation for this enzyme.

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