Like cures like: food poisoning will be treated with the help of bacteria

Hard to find someone who at least once in my life felt the effects of food poisoning. However, some species can cause very severe intestinal infection, which is not limited by simple diarrhea. And sometimes in medicine practice the principle of “treating like with like”. Though it is not so easy to believe, but I guess soon it can be applied to the treatment of food poisoning.

A group of researchers from Stanford led by Dr. Denise Mosnac was able to detect the propionate — a byproduct of the metabolism of one of the groups of intestinal bacteria. This substance is able to inhibit the growth of Salmonella responsible for the development of salmonellosis. It is worth noting that the substance is released a native gram-negative anaerobic rod-shaped bacteria of the Bacteroides family, which in varying concentrations are present in the natural flora of living organisms. This explains the fact that after eating the same contaminated food people will carry the effects of the disease.

“People differ in their response to exposure to bacterial infections. Someone gets infected, and some don’t. We needed to understand why there are such differences, and our discovery may shed light on this phenomenon. Gut microbiota is a very complex ecosystem. Billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi form complex interactions with each other and with the human body. Because of this, it is extremely difficult to identify unique molecules from specific inhabitants of the intestine.”

The experts investigated the mechanism of action of propionate on bacteria of the genus Salmonella. It turned out that the substance reduces the intracellular pH of the bacteria, increasing the time needed to ensure that the bacteria started to divide and grow. When the concentration of propionate in the bowel of bacteria are unable to improve their internal pH to facilitate cellular functions needed for growth, causing the death of a Salmonella.

“The results will have a big impact on the fight against transmission of the infection and will change the approach to treatment. For now, the main way of treatment of intestinal infections antibiotics. Reduce the use of antibiotics is an added advantage, since their excessive use leads to an increase in the incidence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.”

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