The assessment of potentially confounding factors affecting colon microbiota composition is essential to the identification of robust microbiome based disease markers. Here, we investigate the link between gut microbiota variation and stool consistency using Bristol Stool Scale classification, which reflects faecal water content and activity, and is considered a proxy for intestinal colon transit time.

published in Gut microbiota


Results Stool consistency strongly correlates with all known major microbiome markers. It is negatively correlated with species richness, positively associated to the Bacteroidetes:Firmicutes ratio, and linked to Akkermansia and Methanobrevibacterabundance. Enterotypes are distinctly distributed over the BSS-scores. Based on the correlations between microbiota growth potential and stool consistency scores within both enterotypes, we hypothesise that accelerated transit contributes to colon ecosystem differentiation. While shorter transit times can be linked to increased abundance of fast growing species in Ruminococcaceae-Bacteroides samples, hinting to a washout avoidance strategy of faster replication, this trend is absent in Prevotella-enterotyped individuals. Within this enterotype adherence to host tissue therefore appears to be a more likely bacterial strategy to cope with washout.

Conclusions The strength of the associations between stool consistency and species richness, enterotypes and community composition emphasises the crucial importance of stool consistency assessment in gut metagenome-wide association studies.

read the full open access article here:


Gut doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309618

Authors  Doris VandeputteGwen FalonySara Vieira-Silva ;Raul Y Tito; Marie JoossensJeroen Raes

Correspondence toJeroen Raes, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, KU Leuven, Rega Institute, Herestraat 49, Leuven B-3000, Belgium; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Received 19 March 2015
  • Revised 11 May 2015
  • Accepted 25 May 2015
  • Published Online First 11 June 2015
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