Winclove Research

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New Winclove research on

Microbes  residing in the small intestine

Recently, a new Winclove publication has been published about the functioning of key players in the small intestine. Until now, most research has been focused on the microbes residing in the colon. With this new research, Winclove's Innovation Department aimed to get a better understanding of how the microbes in the small intestine contribute to our well-being.

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The gut microbiota

Our gut contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, and this complex community of microbes, also called the gut microbiota, plays many roles. They metabolize nutrients from food and certain medications, serve as a protective barrier against intestinal infections, and produce vitamin B and K. But the gut microbiota may do much more. Recent studies have indicated an important role for the metabolic activity of the intestinal microbiota in diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and obesity [1-3].

      The amount of microbes in your gut

      Source: What your microbes want for dinner: the international chronicles

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Microbes in the small intestine

The microbial composition, and it’s metabolic activity, varies between different locations in the GI tract.  Most studies have focused on the functionality of microbes inhabiting the colon e.g. by analysing faecal samples. Consequently, little is known about the microbes living at more difficult to access parts of the GI tract, such as the small intestine. The small intestine is a harsh environment for microbial life because of the short transit time and excretion of digestive enzymes and bile (4). It is a nutrient-rich environment, and previous studies have shown that the microbial communities in the small intestine are driven by the rapid uptake and conversion of simple carbohydrates (5,6].  Better understanding of the role of its key players, the interactions among them and with their environment, can help us understand how they contribute to our well-being. 



Winclove's Innovation Department is dedicated to new applications and enhancement of our strains and formulations. Focusing on innovations within applied and mechanistic, they investigate physical, genetic, and metabolic properties of our strains and additional functional ingredients to ensure that we can constantly deliver innovative, high quality, and safe probiotic formulations to our partners.



The key player CRIB

A common inhabitant of the small intestine in mammals is the bacterium Romboutsia ilealis CRIB (first discovered in the small intestine of rats by Coline Gerritsen, scientist at Winclove, since 2014). The bacterium belongs to the same family as Clostridium difficile, a species well-known for causing Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea (CDAD) after antibiotic use. Coline and co-researchers, sequenced the genome of this bacterium to gain more knowledge about its metabolic capacities and functional contribution. They found that the bacterium had limited capacity to synthesize amino acids and vitamins but was quite capable of fermenting simple carbohydrates.  


Although the results correspond to one specific strain and different strains belonging to the same species could possibly possess different functions, the results leads to a better understanding of how the microbial communities in us function as a whole. The better we understand how each organisms works, the better we can predict how nutrition, prebiotics and probiotics, will influence health and well-being. This research unravelled potential mechanisms whereby Romboutsia ilealis CRIB is adapted to life in the small intestinal environment.



Read the scientific article 


1.       Gerritsen et al. (2011a) Gerritsen J, Smidt H, Rijkers GT, De Vos WM. Intestinal microbiota in human health and disease: the impact of probiotics. Genes & Nutrition. 2011a;6:209–240. doi: 10.1007/s12263-011-0229-7. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

2.       Gerritsen et al. (2011b) Gerritsen J, Timmerman HM, Fuentes S, Van Minnen LP, Panneman H, Konstantinov SR, Rombouts FM, Gooszen HG, Akkermans LM, Smidt H, Rijkers GT. Correlation between protection against sepsis by probiotic therapy and stimulation of a novel bacterial phylotype. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2011b;77:7749–7756. doi: 10.1128/AEM.05428-11.[PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

3.       Quigley (2013) Quigley EM. Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;9:560–569.[PMC free article] [PubMed]

4.       Johnson LR (ed). (2006). Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract 4 edn. Academic Press: San Diego, CA.

5.       Zoetendal EG, Raes J, Van den Bogert B, Arumugam M, Booijink CC, Troost FJ, Bork P, Wels M, De Vos WM, Kleerebezem M. 2012. The human small intestinal microbiota is driven by rapid uptake and conversion of simple carbohydrates. The ISME Journal 6:1415-1426  

6.       Leimena MM, Ramiro-Garcia J, Davids M, Van den Bogert B, Smidt H, Smid EJ, Boekhorst J, Zoetendal EG, Schaap PJ, Kleerebezem M. 2013. A comprehensive metatranscriptome analysis pipeline and its validation using human small intestine microbiota datasets. BMC Genomics 14:530.




microbes residing in the small intestine

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