Successful Treatment of Recurrent Clostridioides difficile Infection Using a Novel, Drinkable, Oral Formulation of Fecal Microbiota

Michael J. Sadowsky, Michael Matson, Prince P. Mathai, Maradi Pho, Christopher Staley, Clayton Evert, Melissa Weldy, Alexander Khoruts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fecal microbiota transplants can be administered orally in encapsulated form or require invasive procedures to administer liquid formulations. There is a need for an oral liquid formulation of fecal microbiota for patients who are unable to swallow capsules, especially if they require multiple, repeated administrations. Aims: These studies were conducted to develop a protocol to manufacture an organoleptically acceptable powdered fecal microbiota formulation that can be suspended in a liquid carrier and used for fecal microbiota transplantation. Methods: Several processing steps were investigated, including extra washes of microbiota prior to lyophilization and an addition of a flavoring agent. The viability of bacteria in the transplant formulation was tested using live/dead microscopy staining and engraftment into antibiotic-treated mice. After development of a clinical protocol for suspension of the powdered microbiota, the new formulation was tested in three elderly patients with recurrent Clostridioides difficile infections and who have difficulties in swallowing capsules. Changes in the microbial community structure in one of the patients were characterized using 16S rRNA gene profiling and engraftment analysis. Results: The processing steps used to produce an organoleptically acceptable suspension of powdered fecal microbiota did not result in loss of its viability. The powder could be easily suspended in a liquid carrier. The use of the new formulation was associated with abrogation of the cycle of C. difficile infection recurrences in the three patients. Conclusion: We developed a novel organoleptically acceptable liquid formulation of fecal microbiota that is suitable for use in clinical trials for patients with difficulties in swallowing capsules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1778-1784
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)
  • Organoleptic
  • Pediatric patients
  • Recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection


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