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We read with interest the commentary of Philippe Marteau1 on our study2 in which the author rightly questions the therapeutic value of butyrate-producing bacteria as pharmabiotics in humans because of their difficulty to grow in vitro. While indeed lactic acid bacteria are easy to grow but seem to have limited efficacy, the butyrate-producing bacteria from Clostridium cluster IV and XIVa are promising candidates as pharmabiotics, provided that the strains can be cultured and formulated in a stable way. Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum easily grows under anaerobic conditions in M2GSC medium reaching 108 cfu/mL after 24 h incubation. Our group further evaluated the survival and viability of B pullicaecorum in hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) capsules after they were anaerobically lyophilised in horse serum supplemented with 7.5% trehalose and 1 mg/mL cysteine HCl and only observed a reduction of 1 log after 7 months. Now, after 15 months of storage at 4°C, still 107 …
Contributors VE cultured and lyophilised the strain and initiated the animal study. FVI had the original idea and designed the study together with VE, RD, BS and SV. All authors were involved in the interpretation of results and the critical revision of this letter.
Funding This research received a specific grant from Institute of Science and Technology, Flanders, grant number: contract no SBO-100016.
Competing interests V Eeckhaut, B Sas, R Ducatelle and F Van Immerseel are listed as co-inventors on a patent application for the use of butyrate-producing bacterial strains related to Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum in the prevention and/or treatment of intestinal health problems (International Application Number PCT/EP2010/052184 and International Publication Number WO2010/ 094789 A1).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.