Can gut microbes survive dry ice temperatures?
I have a good friend who has inflammatory bowel disease, principally involving her colon. She has tried every treatment available, from steroids (prednisone) to anti TNF agents (Humira). None have eliminated her symptoms, and all of the drugs available for these conditions have severe side effects. She would like to try a procedure called Fecal Microbial Transplant. Basically, a slurry is made from the feces of a healthy person, and this is introduced into the colon of the sick individual through a enema, in order to re-establish a normal colony of healthy microbes in the gut. This treatment is not new, and has been used since at least the 1950's for clostridium difficile infections, for which it can be very effective, even in cases where the most powerful antibiotics have failed repeatedly. I think this is worth trying, since there really are no side effects, however the material used is packed in dry ice after preparation. I am wondering if the temperature of dry ice (~-110 degrees F) might not actually kill the microbes which the process is attempting to introduce into the gut. Can anyone here tell me if that is the case? If no one is sure, can anyone suggest a forum where I might ask about this? This is a very serious situation which is destroying this young woman's life, so please, no "poop jokes".
Re: Can gut microbes survive dry ice temperatures?
Sorry to hear about her condition, not quite sure about your question, you said:
" I am wondering if the temperature of dry ice (~-110 degrees F) might not actually kill the microbes which the process is attempting to introduce into the gut."
You don't want to try and kill the commensal microbes you want them alive so they can outcompete the bad bacteria in her gut. And no I believe almost all bacteria is stable and can survive -78'C temperatures. Although it would make more sense if the procedure took out the normal commensal bacteria and right away transplanted it into the patient instead of an extra storage step in dry ice.
make sure whoever is donating their poop that they are living in the same household or at least best best friends with your good friend. the more similar the diets are between the donor and patient, the more successful the procedure should be because similar gut flora microbes should line the intestine based on what types of food people eat.
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