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Unknown bacteria in human stomach

The study may help find out how gastrointestinal illnesses develop and treat them.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 09, 2006 12:54 IST

A hitherto unknown community of bacteria - that causes peptic ulcers - has been found to have made the human stomach their home, says a study that may help find out how gastrointestinal illnesses develop and treat them.

The bacteria 'H. pylori' that causes peptic ulcers was discovered in stomachs 20 years ago and has been the subject of a large number of scientific studies. But it has not been clear how wide a range of micro-organisms live in the stomach, reported the online edition of BBC News.

Researchers at Stanford University carried out molecular analyses of gastric samples from 23 volunteers and found at least 128 different types of bacteria.

Some were types that had been identified in the mouth or oesophagus. But 10 per cent of the types were genetically distinct from any previously reported bacteria.

One was related to a group that includes deinococcus radiodurans, a bacterium found in radioactive waste sites, hot springs and animal faeces. The researchers say this is the first time a similar bacterium has been identified in a human.

In addition, H. pylori was found in samples from 19 people studied - although conventional tests had only detected its presence in 12 of them.

The researchers, led by Elisabeth Bik, said larger studies analysing gastric micro-organisms, focusing on whether there were significant differences between genders or in people from different ethnic and racial groups, were needed.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 12:54 IST