Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

20.01.2014
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.


This image shows Bacteroides ovatus, wild strain.

Credit: Harry Brumer, UBC

"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.

Background

The bacterial communities living in the human gut – roughly 100 trillion microorganisms – account for 50 per cent of the weight of the contents of the lower digestive tract in humans. Up to 10 per cent of our daily caloric intake can come from the breakdown of dietary fibre by our gut bacteria.

Researchers from the University of Michigan, the University of York, and the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology were also involved in the study.

Harry Brumer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ubc.ca

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic quantum crystals

27.03.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Surface-modified nanoparticles endow coatings with combined properties

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Novel sensor system provides continuous smart monitoring of machinery and plant equipment

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>