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Gut microbiota composition associated with stool consistency
  1. E F Tigchelaar1,2,
  2. M J Bonder1,
  3. S A Jankipersadsing1,
  4. J Fu1,3,
  5. C Wijmenga1,2,
  6. A Zhernakova1,2
  1. 1Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Zhernakova, Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, CB50, P.O. Box 30 001, Groningen 9700 RB, The Netherlands; a.zhernakova{at}

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Vandeputte et al1 recently reported a strong effect of stool consistency—as measured by the Bristol Stool Scale (BSS)—on the composition of the gut microbiota in 53 healthy females. This work potentially has a large impact on future microbiome studies as it suggests that such studies may need to be corrected for BSS scores. However, the generalisability of their study is not immediately evident as it did not include a replication cohort and was limited to females aged 20–55 years.

We analysed gut microbiota in relation to BSS in LifeLines-DEEP, a large population-based cohort.2 From 1126 LifeLines-DEEP participants, with both males (n=454) and females (n=672) aged 18–81 years (table 1), the BSS score was recorded for seven consecutive days and a fresh-frozen stool sample was collected in the same week. We calculated the average stool type of 7-day records for each participant. Stool DNA was isolated using AllPrep DNA/RNA Mini Kit (Qiagen; cat. #80204), and subsequently we performed 16s rRNA gene sequencing using forward primer …

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  • Contributors CW, JF and AZ were involved in the conception and design of the study. EFT, MJB, SAJ, JF and AZ were involved in data collection, analysis and interpretation. EFT and AZ drafted the work. All authors have critically revised this letter and approved the final version to be published.

  • Funding This project was funded by a grant from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen (GH001) to CW and a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research grant (NWO-VIDI 864.13.013) to JF. AZ holds a Rosalind Franklin Fellowship (University of Groningen).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The LifeLines-DEEP study was approved by the ethics committee of the University Medical Centre Groningen, document no. METC UMCG LLDEEP: M12.113965. All participants signed an informed consent form prior to study enrolment.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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