Ashkenazi Jews, sulfur gases, and ulcerative colitis

Jimmy Levine, Julie K. Furne, Michael D Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Fecal pathogens have been suspected to cause ulcerative colitis, yet none have been identified. Meanwhile, the 400 species comprising normal colonic flora have received little attention as potential pathogens. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), a frequent colonic commensal, have been identified in greater numbers in people with ulcerative colitis. The bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide, a toxic compound with the potential to cause colonic injury and possibly ulcerative colitis. If these bacteria are pathogenic, high-risk populations may harbor greater numbers of these organisms in their colons. We compared a group with a high incidence of ulcerative colitis, Ashkenazi Jews, to a control population to assess carriage rates for SRB. Breath samples were collected to indirectly determine colonic conditions. No difference was found between the two groups studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-291
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 1996


  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Methane
  • Sulfate reducing bacteria
  • Ulcerative colitis

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