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Sulphide producing microorganisms linked to colorectal cancer

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Published: 21.09.17
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Prof Rex Gaskins - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, USA

Prof Rex Gaskins talks to ecancer at the Microbiome in Cancer and Beyond 2017 meeting about hydrogen sulphide production in the gut by bacteria, and how high concentrations of this gas can lead to colorectal cancer.

Hydrogen sulphide induces DNA damage and an inflammatory environment which are precursors to colorectal cancer. He describes how this is highly linked to diet, in particular animal based diets which are high in protein and fat. Animal products are also high in taurine, a molecule which can be used by microbes such as Bilophila wadsworthia to produce hydrogen sulphide.

Potential applications could be to monitor the relative abundance of certain organisms which are responsible for high hydrogen sulphide production. 

After comparing and switching the high risk diet of African Americans and low risk diet of native Zulu Africans, there was a clear increase in sulphide producing microorganisms after Zulu Africans adopted the high fat, processed diet.

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Cancer Intelligence