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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Oct;62(10):3632-9.

A simulation of microbial competition in the human colonic ecosystem.

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  • 1Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250-3700, USA. usdafsis/g=p/


Many investigations of the interactions of microbial competitors in the gastrointestinal tract used continuous-flow anaerobic cultures. The simulation reported here was a deterministic 11-compartment model coded by using the C programming language and based on parameters from published in vitro studies and assumptions were data were unavailable. The resource compartments were glucose, lactose and sucrose, starch, sorbose, and serine. Six microbial competitors included indigenous nonpathogenic colonizers of the human gastrointestinal tract (Escherichia coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Bacteroids ovatus, Fusobacterium varium, and Enterococcus faecalis) and the potential human enteropathogen Salmonella typhimurium. Flows of carbon from the resources to the microbes were modified by resource and space controls. Partitioning of resources to the competitors that could utilize them was calculated at each iteration on the basis of availability of all resources by feeding preference functions. Resources did not accumulate during iterations of the model. The results of the computer simulation of microbial competition model and for various modifications of the model. The results were based on few measured parameters but may be useful in the design of user-friendly software to aid researchers in defining and manipulating the microbial ecology of colonic ecosystems as relates to food-borne disease.

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