Faecal microbiota transplantation has been demonstrated to be a safe and highly effective therapeutic option for refractory C. difficile infection (CDI), and many studies have shown that it may possibly have applications in other illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and in particular for ulcerative colitis (UC).

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) has shown mixed clinical results (see recent trials here and here). In a new pilot study, published as open access, Faming Zhang and colleagues tested the safety and efficacy of a "step-up" FMT strategy in 15 steroid-dependent UC patients.

Between January 2010 and April 2015, 901 patients with CDI were identified, with a gradual increase over time (2010= 54 patients; 2011= 116 patients; 2012= 200 patients; 2013= 212 patients; 2014= 268 patients; January-April 2015= 71 patients). Thirty-five patients with severe cases underwent FMT: 7 in 2013, 16 in 2014, and 12 between January and April 2015.

Liping Zhao and colleagues, in their recent paper on a dietary intervention for simple and genetic obesity, discussed evidence for the existence of gut microbiota 'guilds': bacterial genomes within the gut ecosystem that responded to the dietary intervention as a group.

Thousands of years ago, humans went beyond hunting and gathering and began purposefully selecting and growing the most beneficial plants; what we know as the agricultural revolution was born. Is it possible that cultivating the microbiome would create a comparable paradigm shift?