Gluten-degrading bacteria isolated

By Jason Clevenger

Summary: A joint study by American and German researchers identified strains of naturally occurring bacteria capable of breaking down gluten proteins associated with celiac disease. The researchers took bacteria samples from the mouth of a healthy volunteer and were able to grow and isolate strains of bacteria that were then demonstrated to degrade gluten in a laboratory setting. The experiments showed that some of the bacteria were able to temporarily survive a highly acidic environment such that could be found in the stomach.

Conclusion: This study adds to the growing body of evidence that differences in the microbiome of individuals may be related to the development of celiac disease. The authors suggest that a “cocktail” of the most active oral bacteria (or the enzymes they produce) may be a promising treatment for celiac disease.


[1] “The cultivable human oral gluten-degrading microbiome and its potential implications in coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity”, Fernandez-Feo M, Wei G, Blumenkranz G, Dewhirst FE, Schuppan D, Oppenheim FG, Helmerhorst EJ., #Clinical Microbiology and Infection# 2013 Apr 18 [Epub ahead of print].