A new study has found that laboratory mice that are transplanted with the gut microbiota of wild mice are less likely to die from a flu virus infection or develop colorectal cancer than laboratory mice with their own gut microbiota.

New work, led by Pamela Silver of The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard (USA), appears to have overcome this problem. The research, which has been called "incredibly exciting" by other scientists, involved the design of a bacterial trigger circuit that detects and responds to tetrathionate—a transient product of reactive oxygen species.

A recent study, led by Dr. Stefan Pasiakos from the Military Nutrition Division at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick (Massachusetts, USA), has found that changes in gut microbiota composition and metabolic activity are related to intestinal permeability in adults undergoing military training, an environment of physiologic stress.