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Medical News & Perspectives
April 10, 2018

Did a Sugar Called Trehalose Contribute to the Clostridium difficile Epidemic?

JAMA. 2018;319(14):1425-1426. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0888

Scientists have recently discovered that a form of sugar called trehalose could be partly to blame for the rapid emergence around the turn of the millennium of certain epidemic-associated strains of the gut bacterium Clostridium difficile. The research, published in Nature and led by Baylor College of Medicine microbiologist Robert Britton, PhD, suggests that these strains have a unique ability to grow on low amounts of the sugar, which entered the North American and European food systems around the same time as C difficile outbreaks in these regions.

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