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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Jul;18 Suppl 4:62-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2012.03859.x.

Gut microbiota correlates with energy gain from dietary fibre and appears to be associated with acute and chronic intestinal diseases.

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Microbiology and Cell Science, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0700, USA.


Improvements in high-throughput sequencing technologies have spurred a large number of studies aimed at obtaining a better understanding of the composition and the dynamics in gut microbiota and its associations with various human diseases, especially those in the intestinal tract. Here we briefly summarize results from three different such studies from our group, all of which used 454 based high-throughput 16S rRNA sequence analysis combined with other microbiota profiling methods to determine faecal microbiota composition. In the first study, a controlled feeding trial, we establish that energy gain from the consumption of up to 50 g/day of a resistant maltodextrin depends on the prevalent microbiota composition. Over time, resistant maltodextrin supplementation increased the proportion of total faecal bacteria as well as potentially beneficial bifidobacteria. Thus, energy gain from resistant maltodextrin in an individual appears to vary over time and depend on the adaptation of gut microbiota. We then illustrate the power of molecular tools for identifying (i) distortions in early microbiota development in pre-term infants and the presence of potentially novel pathogens contributing to necrotizing enterocolitis and (ii) a specific microbiota signature, based on discriminant analysis of the 16S rRNA sequences, that correlates with the prevalence of an early risk marker associated with colorectal carcinogenesis, intestinal adenoma, in elderly adults.

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