Not So Sweet: Popular Sugar Additive May Have Fueled Spread of C. difficile

January 12, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A popular sugar additive could have fueled epidemic strains of Clostridium difficile, according to a January 3, 2018, study in Nature. The authors observed that two virulent strains of C. difficile—ribotype 027 and ribotype 078—are very good at metabolizing low concentrations of the sugar trehalose. Trehalose is used as a flavor or texture enhancer in a variety of food products, including pasta, ice cream, cake, and chewing gum. It was infrequently used until the turn of the 21st century because of high production costs, according to an accompanying article in Nature. This coincides with the rise of the C. difficile epidemic, the article said.

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