Strains of microorganisms capable of 7α-dehydroxylation of chenodeoxycholate were isolated from rat and human feces. All the strains were strictly anaerobic, non-motile, moderately themioresistant Gram-positive rods. They showed some saccharolytic properties with the production of both acid and gas. They were H2S-positive but indole-, skatole-, citrate-, catalase-, and oxidase-negative.

The isolated strains capable of 7α-dehydroxylation of chenodeoxycholate were also able to oxidize the hydroxyl groups at C-3 and C-7 to keto groups. The following metabolites were isolated: 3-keto-7α-hydroxy-5ß-cholanoic acid, 3α-hydroxy-7-keto-5ß-cholanoic acid, 3α-hydroxy-5ß-cholanoic acid, and 3-keto-5ß-cholanoic acid. The isolated strains did not have the enzymes necessary for hydrolyzing conjugated bile acids.

In mixed anaerobic cultures of fecal microorganisms, extensive reduction of the 3-keto group to the 3ß-hydroxyl group occurred. The microorganism(s) responsible for this reaction have as yet not been isolated.

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