Significant amounts of sugar were found in 22% of 180 faecal samples from 135 children with acute or chronic diarrhoea. The methods used were the Clinitest method and paper chromatography. There was very good correlation between the results of these methods. Screening by Ph was less reliable. Various di- and monosaccharides were found. However, a disaccharide was never found without the simultaneous finding of its component monosaccharides. In vitro studies showed that the faecal flora has the ability to split disaccharides very rapidly. Within a few minutes much of the disaccharide had been split and no traces could be found after 30 minutes. Since the same process is assumed to take place in the lower gut, children with disacchardase deficency cannot be expected to excrete disaccharide alone in their faeces without the corresponding monosaccharides. The lack of a disaccharide in the faeces does not exclude the possibility of disaccharidase deficiency. Acid hydrolysis of faecal samples in cases of suspected sucrase deficiency seems not to be necessary.
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