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Bacteria prevent kidney stones

A single dose of bacteria could help alleviate a condition that is a common cause of kidney stones, say researchers from the United States and Britain. Their findings appear in the August 2002 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Hyperoxaluria is a condition in which there is too much of a compound called oxalate in the body. The excess oxalate combines with calcium inside the kidneys, forming kidney stones. The researchers have identified a bacterium, called Oxalobacter formigenes, that naturally exists in the digestive tract of most humans and breaks down oxalate. A single dose of the bacteria, when taken by volunteers lacking the microorganism in their digestive tract, resulted in colonization and an overall reduction of oxalate levels in urine.

"The present work suggests that intestinal oxalate degradation provides an ecological niche which O. formigenes may be uniquely fitted to occupy. Studies with colonized and noncolonized individuals of different ages and health status will advance our understanding of oxalate metabolism in the human gastrointestinal tract, and may ultimately provide practical approaches for the prevention or alleviation of hyperoxaluria," say the researchers.

(S.H. Duncan, A.J. Richardson, P. Kaul, R.P. Holmes, M.J. Allison and C.S. Stewart. 2002. Oxalobacter formigenes and its potential role in human health. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68: 3841-3847.)

UV light as an alternative to pasteurization

Ultraviolet light can kill potentially harmful microorganisms in apple cider and may be a feasible alternative to pasteurization say researchers in the August 2002 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

In the study scientists contaminated fresh apple cider with the Cryptosporidium parvum parasite and then treated a portion of it with ultraviolet (UV) rays. They in
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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
6-Aug-2002


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