Fecal samples were collected by patients at home, immediately frozen in the household freezer, and brought to the hospital within 12 hours. The time of fecal sample collection was either the evening one day before or the morning on the same day of obtaining biochemical data. Then, fecal samples were transferred to the laboratory and stored at -80 °C for up to three days before processing. Bacterial DNA was extracted using the Stool DNA Extraction kit (Topgen Biotechnology Co., Ltd, Kaohsiung, Taiwan). In brief, the fecal samples were weighed to 50-100 mg and were supplemented with a preceding bead beating (45 seconds; speed: 3450 oscillations/min). The subsequent steps of DNA extraction were performed according to the manufacturer's protocol. DNA concentration and quality was assessed by Colibri Microvolume spectrophotometer (Titertek Berthold, Pforzheim, Germany). Extracted DNA samples were immediately stored at -20 °C before use.

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