Kinetic modelling of lactate utilization and butyrate production by key human colonic bacterial species

Rafael Munoz-Tamayo, Beatrice Laroche, Eric Walter, Joel Dore, Sylvia H. Duncan, Harry J. Flint, Marion Leclerc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Butyrate is the preferred energy source for colonocytes and has an important role in gut health; in contrast, accumulation of high concentrations of lactate is detrimental to gut health. The major butyrate-producing bacterial species in the human colon belong to the Firmicutes. Eubacterium hallii and a new species, Anaerostipes coli SS2/1, members of clostridial cluster XIVa, are able to utilize lactate and acetate via the butyryl CoA : acetate CoA transferase route, the main metabolic pathway for butyrate synthesis in the human colon. Here we provide a mathematical model to analyse the production of butyrate by lactate-utilizing bacteria from the human colon. The model is an aggregated representation of the fermentation pathway. The parameters of the model were estimated using total least squares and maximum likelihood, based on in vitro experimental data with E. hallii L2-7 and A. coli SS2/1. The findings of the mathematical model adequately match those from the bacterial batch culture experiments. Such an in silico approach should provide insight into carbohydrate fermentation and short-chain fatty acid cross-feeding by dominant species of the human colonic microbiota.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • anaerostipes sp
  • Eubacterium hallii
  • butyrate
  • lactate
  • modelling
  • human large-intestine
  • chain fatty-acids
  • 16S ribosomal-RNA
  • human gut
  • human feces
  • bifidobacterium-adolescentis
  • extracellular acetate
  • microbial-flora
  • rat model
  • fermentation


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