Modulation of colonic hydrogen sulfide production by diet and mesalazine utilizing a novel gas-profiling technology

Chu K. Yao, Asaf Rotbart, Jian Z. Ou, Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, Jane G. Muir, Peter R. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Excessive hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) production from gut microbial metabolism may have clinically important relevance in the pathogenesis of gut disorders, including ulcerative colitis. However, little is known regarding factors that alter its production. Using a newly-designed in vitro gas-profiling technology, the study aimed to verify real-time H 2 S measurement reproducibility and thereafter, assess its production following exposure to dietary factors and 5-aminosalicylate acid (5-ASA). Measurements of H 2 S, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane measurements were compared between gas-profiling systems. Homogenized slurries were prepared from freshly-passed healthy human feces. Fifty ml slurries were aliquoted into separate fermentation chambers and substrates added including 1 g highly fermentable fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) or resistant starch Hi-Maize (RS), or minimally fermentable psyllium or sterculia, 1 g cysteine, 0.9 g sodium sulfate or 1.2 mL of 1 M 5-ASA alone or in combinations. H 2 S release was sampled every 5 mins over 4-h and expressed relative to unspiked controls. RS suppressed H 2 S production by a mean 89.0 (SEM 4.8)% and FOS by 82.2 (6.2)% compared to <35 (17)% by psyllium and sterculia (p<0.001, two-way ANOVA). Cysteine stimulated H 2 S production by 1557 (532)%. The addition of FOS to slurries containing cysteine significantly suppressed H 2 S by 90 (2)% over the addition of 5-ASA (0.3 (2)%, p<0.001). Sulfate and 5-ASA had minimal overall effects. In conclusion, the H 2 S-profiling technology is a reproducible tool. Production of H 2 S is greatly enhanced by sulfur-amino acids but not inorganic sulfate, and is effectively suppressed by readily fermentable fibers. These findings inform potential designs of dietary therapies to reduce H 2 S production in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-522
Number of pages13
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • fiber
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • microbiota
  • protein
  • sulfur
  • ulcerative colitis

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