An anaerobic three-stage continuous culture model of the human colon (gut model), which represent different anatomical areas of the large intestine, was used to study the effect of S. aureus infection of the gut on the resident faecal microbiota. Studies on the development of the microbiota in the three vessels were performed and bacteria identified by culture independent fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Furtheremore, short chain fatty acids (SCFA), as principal end products of gut bacterial metabolism, were measured along with a quantitative assessment of the predominant microbiota. During steady state conditions, numbers of S. aureus cells stabilised until they were washed out, but populations of indigenous bacteria were transiently altered; thus S. aureus was able to compromise colonisation resistance by the colonic microbiota. Furthermore, the concentration of butyric acid in the vessel representing the proximal colon was significantly decreased by infection. Thus infection by S. aureus appears to be able to alter the overall structure of the human colonic microbiota and the microbial metabolic profiles. This work provides an initial in vitro model to analyse interactions with pathogens
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