- difficile is a nasty bacterium — infection can result in severe diarrhea and death — and numbers among the most prevalent hospital-acquired infections in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half a million peoplewere sickened by the bug in 2011. Some 29,000 of those patients died within 30 days of being diagnosed with C. difficile, and about 15,000 of those deaths were directly linked to the infection.
- difficile bacteria have genes that can break trehalose into glucose (a simpler, more useful sugar) and its derivatives. But a special protein called TreR blocks the microbes from metabolizing trehalose unless the concentration of trehalose in the environment is very high.