Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving the infant gut ‘microbiome’

Date:
March 17, 2011
Source:
Teagasc
Summary:
While next-generation sequencing-based research of gut microbiomes will ultimately benefit all members of the population, to date there has been a particular emphasis on investigating and, where necessary, altering the microbiota present in the gut of the elderly, infants and obese individuals. For example, evidence exists that early colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract by microbes is crucial for the overall health of the infant.

While next-generation sequencing-based research of gut microbiomes will ultimately benefit all members of the population, to date there has been a particular emphasis on investigating and, where necessary, altering the microbiota present in the gut of the elderly, infants and obese individuals. For example, evidence exists that early colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract by microbes is crucial for the overall health of the infant.

Sequencing technology has advanced significantly since the race to sequence the human genome first began. As part of the Teagasc Vision Programme a 'next generation sequencer', the only one of its kind in Ireland, was installed at Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark.

This technology is being used to sequence microorganisms from one of the most extreme environments, i.e., the human gastrointestinal tract (gut). The human gut has the potential to impact hugely on the health of individuals. This is because microbes correspond to nine out of every ten cells in our body. Indeed, in the large intestine the number of microbes can be as high as 100 billion per gram. This collection of microbes is known as the human 'microbiome'. This microbiome contains 100 times more unique genes than those present in our own genomes, and has a metabolic capability equivalent to that of our liver.

"While everybody is aware that there are a number of gut microbes that can make us sick, the majority of gut microbes are harmless and, indeed, a significant number can have a positive impact on our health. It has only been since the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies that we have been able to properly appreciate what microbes are present in the gut and what they might be doing," explains Dr Paul Cotter in an article in TResearch, Teagasc's Science magazine.

These roles include vitamin synthesis, the digestion and absorption of foods, immunostimulation, the control of disease-causing microbes (pathogens) and prevention of other diseases, human intestinal cell proliferation, and aiding bowel movements. Now, armed with this knowledge, researchers at Teagasc can add considerably to the health claims, and thus value, associated with existing foods, and design the next generation of functional foods by identifying ingredients that impact positively on the composition of our gut microbiome and, in turn, our health.

While next-generation sequencing-based research of gut microbiomes will ultimately benefit all members of the population, to date there has been a particular emphasis at Teagasc on investigating and, where necessary, altering the microbiota present in the gut of the elderly, infants and obese individuals.

For example, evidence exists that early colonisation of the infant gastrointestinal tract by microbes is crucial for the overall health of the infant.

"The infant microbiota is influenced by factors such as the mode of delivery, the maternal microbiota, antibiotic exposure and other factors. Significantly, one of the major influencing factors is whether the infant is fed breast milk or infant milk formula. Breast milk is the ideal food for infants and contains a number of components that promote a healthy gut microbiota. Thus, producers of infant milk formula would like to generate new and improved formulae that more closely resemble breast milk with respect to its impact on the infant gut microbiota," explains Dr Cotter.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Teagasc. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Teagasc. "Improving the infant gut ‘microbiome’." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316142748.htm>.
Teagasc. (2011, March 17). Improving the infant gut ‘microbiome’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316142748.htm
Teagasc. "Improving the infant gut ‘microbiome’." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316142748.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins