Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How a versatile gut bacterium helps us get our daily dietary fiber

Date:
January 19, 2014
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have discovered the genetic machinery that turns a common gut bacterium into the Swiss Army knife of the digestive tract -- helping us metabolize a main component of dietary fiber from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables.

This image shows Bacteroides ovatus, wild strain.
Credit: Harry Brumer, UBC

University of British Columbia researchers have discovered the genetic machinery that turns a common gut bacterium into the Swiss Army knife of the digestive tract -- helping us metabolize a main component of dietary fibre from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables.

The findings illuminate the specialized roles played by key members of the vast microbial community living in the human gut, and could inform the development of tailored microbiota transplants to improve intestinal health after antibiotic use or illness. The research is published today in the journal Nature.

"While they are vital to our diet, the long chains of natural polymeric carbohydrates that make up dietary fibre are impossible for humans to digest without the aid of our resident bacteria," says UBC professor Harry Brumer, with UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Chemistry, and senior author of the study.

"This newly discovered sequence of genes enables Bacteroides ovatus to chop up xyloglucan, a major type of dietary fibre found in many vegetables -- from lettuce leaves to tomato fruits. B. ovatus and its complex system of enzymes provide a crucial part of our digestive toolkit."

About 92 per cent of the population harbours bacteria with a variant of the gene sequence, according to the researchers' survey of public genome data from 250 adult humans.

"The next question is whether other groups in the consortium of gut bacteria work in concert with, or in competition with, Bacteroides ovatus to target these, and other, complex carbohydrates," says Brumer.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Johan Larsbrink, Theresa E. Rogers, Glyn R. Hemsworth, Lauren S. McKee, Alexandra S. Tauzin, et al. A discrete genetic locus confers xyloglucan metabolism in select human gut Bacteroidetes. Nature, 2014 DOI: 10.1038/nature12907

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "How a versatile gut bacterium helps us get our daily dietary fiber." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140119142512.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2014, January 19). How a versatile gut bacterium helps us get our daily dietary fiber. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140119142512.htm
University of British Columbia. "How a versatile gut bacterium helps us get our daily dietary fiber." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140119142512.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. 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