Gut microbes affect our health by producing vitamins, priming our immune system and contributing to resistance to pathogens. For example, recent studies have shown that the insulin resistance of patients with type 2 diabetes is linked to the intestinal microbiota composition and can be beneficially altered by replacing it with the microbiota of healthy donors.
The genes of our gut microbes, also known as the microbiome, act as a personalized organ that can be modified by diet, lifestyle and antibiotics. This organ is fed partly by us and partly by our diets. Professor de Vos and colleagues have classified the human microbiome into three enterotypes: clusters of microbiomes with similar compositions and nutrient-processing preferences. These enterotypes are characterized by bacteria with different capacities to degrade carbohydrate and mucin (a gel-forming protein which produces mucus). Our gut microbes get carbohydrates partly from our diet, whereas the mucin is produced by our own body.
Although these enterotypes are separated by species composition, it doesn't necessarily follow that abundant functions are provided by abundant species. To investigate the relationship between the microbiome and health, scientists must establish the functions of the products of their microbiomes.
"We have evolved with the microbes in our gut, our microbes inside, and have discovered that they talk to us and we feed them with, among other things, the mucins we produce. We now are trying to unravel their functions and understand exactly what these microbes and their products mean to human health" said Professor de Vos.
The size of one microbial metagenome (one host's microbiome) is 150 times larger than the human genome and encodes 100 times more genes than our own genome. This extensive gene catalogue could enable us to study potential associations between microbial genes and human phenotypes and even environmental factors like diet, throughout the length of our lifetime.
On 10 October 2011, Professor Willem M. de Vos will present the fourth Environmental Microbiology Lecture: "Microbes Inside"
Dr. Lucy Harper | EurekAlert!
New study shows nanoscale pendulum coupling
05.07.2019 | University of Barcelona
New unprinting method can help recycle paper and curb environmental costs
26.06.2019 | Rutgers University
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences