The British Society of Gastroenterlogy’s annual event unites the gastroenterology & hepatology community for four days to learn about the latest research and industry developments.
Our two posters were titled; ‘The feasibility of measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on breath in response to a lactulose challenge,’ and ‘The effect of oral iron supplementation on hydrogen and methane breath testing (HMBT) and gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy volunteers.’
We know that microbial fermentation produces many metabolic by products including short chain fatty acids, gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and our first poster used breath analysis for real time sample collection, with 20 VOCs were identified on breath using SIFT-MS. It concludes, ‘Further insight into each VOC, its metabolic pathway and clinical relevance is required to allow VOCs to become the next generation of breath testing for digestive health and as an alternative to stool testing.’
Oral iron supplementation is associated with gastrointestinal side effects including constipation and bloating. We hypothesised in our second poster that healthy volunteers taking oral iron for 28 days would see an increase in methane gas within their exhaled breath due to iron being an important energy source of gut microbiota methanogenes. Changes to exhaled methane post-iron were not significant in healthy volunteers, but may be more pronounced in a clinical population where iron is taken over longer periods and colonic dysbiosis is more prevalent.