A new soil based probiotic in the works

A reader forwarded a patent application ( 16701. (WO2019025573) TREATMENT OR PREVENTION OF GASTROINTESTINAL DYSBIOSIS ) to me and asked me to look at it. Patents are always interesting read because they often refer to unpublished studies and may include speculation.

This patent described the use of Methylococcus capsulatus or a lysate of Methylococcus capsulatus and “provides a method for the treatment or prevention of a disease or condition selected from small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), small intestine fungal overgrowth syndrome (SIFO), Gl tract cancers, breast cancer, neurological disorders, malnutrition, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, cardiovascular diseases and Gl tract infections in a subject with Gl tract dysbiosis “.

Medical patents are interesting because while you can get them in a few countries, if there is no equipment involved with it somehow — the patent will not be enforced (see this post). For example, you can patent how you kill (lysate) this bacteria, but you can’t patent the use of it in a capsule.

What do we know about Methylococcus capsulatus

Wikipedia provides an image and it’s hierarchy. It is usually used industrially to produce animal feed.

Kingdom:Bacteria
Phylum:Proteobacteria
Class:Gammaproteobacteria
Order:Methylococcales
Family:Methylococcaceae
Genus:Methylococcus
Species:M. capsulatus
Methylococcus capsulatus.png
Almost look like coffee beans!

What PubMed says

A good start is this comparison to something like Mutaflor (E.Coli Nissle 1917) and Culturelle.

we showed that a bacterial meal of a non-commensal, non-pathogenic methanotrophic soil bacterium, Methylococcus capsulatus Bath prevents experimentally induced colitis in a murine model of IBD.  ….  we show that M. capsulatus, a soil bacterium adheres specifically to human dendritic cells, influencing DC maturation, cytokine production, and subsequent T cell activation, proliferation and differentiation. We characterize the immune modulatory properties of M. capsulatus and compare its immunological properties to those of another Gram-negative gammaproteobacterium, the commensal Escherichia coli K12, and the immune modulatory Gram-positive probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in vitroM. capsulatus induces intermediate phenotypic and functional DC maturation. In a mixed lymphocyte reaction M. capsulatus-primed monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) enhance T cell expression of CD25, the γ-chain of the high affinity IL-2 receptor, supports cell proliferation, and induce a T cell cytokine profile different from both E. coli K12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. M. capsulatus Bath thus interacts specifically with MoDC, affecting MoDC maturation, cytokine profile, and subsequent MoDC directed T cell polarization.

The Soil Bacterium Methylococcus capsulatus Bath Interacts with Human Dendritic Cells to Modulate Immune Function. [2017]

 M. capsulatus Bath induced the highest levels of IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12 secretion from dendritic cells, suggesting that this strain generally the post potent inducer of cytokine secretion. These results show that M. capsulatus Bath exhibit immunogenic properties in mammalian in vitro systems which diverge from that of E. coli Nissle 1917. This may provide clues to how M. capsulatus Bath influence the adaptive immune system in vivo. However, further in vivo experiments are required for a complete understanding of how this strain ameliorates intestinal inflammation in animal models.

Effects of the non-commensal Methylococcus capsulatus Bath on mammalian immune cells. [2015]
  • ” significant production of hydrogen peroxide is observed” [2019]
  • “Our results show that a bacterial meal of the noncommensal bacterium M. capsulatus (Bath) has the potential to attenuate DSS-induced colitis in mice by enhancing colonic barrier function, as judged by increased epithelial proliferation and increased Muc2 transcription. [2013]
  • ”  Previous studies show that bacterial meal (BM) containing mainly Methylococcus capsulatus grown on natural gas is a suitable protein source for salmonids. The BM is rich in nucleotides, phospholipids, and small peptides that might be beneficial for intestinal homeostasis…. can be used to prevent SBM-induced enteritis in Atlantic salmon. ” [2011]

Bottom Line

It’s interesting that it appears that it is available today as fish meal.

Methylococcus capsulatus is a methanotroph, a bacterium that metabolises methane. Salmon will consume pelletised protein made from these bacteria. And that could be handy for fish farmers.
Calysta, a biotechnology firm in Menlo Park, California, proposes to take advantage of the rock-bottom price of methane, a consequence of the spread of natural-gas fracking, to breed Methylococci en masse as a substitute for the fish-meal such farmers now feed to their charges.
The EU and Norway have already approved the use of Methylococcus-based fish food. Though America has yet to follow suit, this means there is a large available market for the stuff.

Natural Gas Fracked bacterial fishmeal can save the worlds fish and enable a lot more farmed fish [2015]

This creates an interesting roadblock for getting it to the human market — it is uber-cheap, easy to produce, and not patentable. FeedKind™ Protein is the trade name, manufactured by http://calysta.com/