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Appl Microbiol. 1975 Oct;30(4):609-15.

Effect of microflora on the free amino acid distribution in various regions of the mouse gastrointestinal tract.


The distribution of free amino acids in the contents of various regions of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, upper small intestine, lower small intestine, cecum, upper colon and lower colon) was studied in germfree and conventionalized mice. Particular emphasis was placed on the conversion of tryptophan to indole as a probe for studying intermicrobial interactions and microbe-host interactions in vivo. Great differences were observed in the free amino acid content of the various regions of the digestive tract in each type of mouse and also in any one region between germfree and conventionalized mice. As would be expected, there were fewer differences in amino acid distribution between the types of mice in both regions of the small intestine. This correlates with a much lower population of microorganisms in these regions. The changes in free amino acid content and distribution produced by microflora are great enough to serve as a good probe for studying the interactions of a limited number of species of microbes in gnotobiotic animals and assign possible specific functions to each species.

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