Microbes, metabolites and health
School of Medical and Health Sciences
The human gut contains over 100 trillion bacteria comprising over 1000 bacterial species and in excess of 1 million genes. Recent research suggests that changes in the gut microbial population structure are associated with a wide range of human diseases including both diseases of the gut, such as colorectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases, and systemic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autism and Parkinson’s disease. One of the most potent modifiers of gut microbiota structure and function is food. Using dietary fibre as a paradigm, we discuss how foods can modify key health-related functions through their interaction with the gut microbiota and resultant metabolites that are formed.