The core objective of the Food Biosciences Department is to engage in advanced research and technology development in support of the Irish Agri-Food industry sector. Activities fall into three research areas: Food for Health; Cheese Microbiology and Biochemistry and Milk and Product Quality.

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Food Biosciences

Recent Submissions

  • Whey for Sarcopenia; Can Whey Peptides, Hydrolysates or Proteins Play a Beneficial Role?

    Gilmartin, Sarah; O’Brien, Nora; Giblin, Linda; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; FIRM 15F604-TOMI; 16/RC/3835-VistaMilk (MDPI AG, 2020-06-05)
    As the human body ages, skeletal muscle loses its mass and strength. It is estimated that in 10% of individuals over the age of 60, this muscle frailty has progressed to sarcopenia. Biomarkers of sarcopenia include increases in inflammatory markers and oxidative stress markers and decreases in muscle anabolic markers. Whey is a high-quality, easily digested dairy protein which is widely used in the sports industry. This review explores the evidence that whey protein, hydrolysates or peptides may have beneficial effects on sarcopenic biomarkers in myoblast cell lines, in aged rodents and in human dietary intervention trials with the older consumer. A daily dietary supplementation of 35 g of whey is likely to improve sarcopenic biomarkers in frail or sarcopenia individuals. Whey supplementation, consumed by an older, healthy adult certainly improves muscle mTOR signaling, but exercise appears to have the greatest benefit to older muscle. In vitro cellular assays are central for bioactive and bioavailable peptide identification and to determine their mechanism of action on ageing muscle.
  • The Potential Impact of Probiotics on the Gut Microbiome of Athletes

    Wosinska, Laura; Cotter, Paul D.; O’Sullivan, Orla; Guinane, Caitriona; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (MDPI AG, 2019-09-21)
    There is accumulating evidence that physical fitness influences the gut microbiome and as a result, promotes health. Indeed, exercise-induced alterations in the gut microbiome can influence health parameters crucial to athletic performance, specifically, immune function, lower susceptibility to infection, inflammatory response and tissue repair. Consequently, maintenance of a healthy gut microbiome is essential for an athlete’s health, training and performance. This review explores the effect of exercise on the microbiome while also investigating the effect of probiotics on various potential consequences associated with over-training in athletes, as well as their associated health benefits.
  • Precision Nutrition and the Microbiome, Part I: Current State of the Science

    Mills, Susan; Stanton, Catherine; Lane, Jonathan; Smith, Graeme; Ross, R. (MDPI AG, 2019-04-24)
    The gut microbiota is a highly complex community which evolves and adapts to its host over a lifetime. It has been described as a virtual organ owing to the myriad of functions it performs, including the production of bioactive metabolites, regulation of immunity, energy homeostasis and protection against pathogens. These activities are dependent on the quantity and quality of the microbiota alongside its metabolic potential, which are dictated by a number of factors, including diet and host genetics. In this regard, the gut microbiome is malleable and varies significantly from host to host. These two features render the gut microbiome a candidate ‘organ’ for the possibility of precision microbiomics—the use of the gut microbiome as a biomarker to predict responsiveness to specific dietary constituents to generate precision diets and interventions for optimal health. With this in mind, this two-part review investigates the current state of the science in terms of the influence of diet and specific dietary components on the gut microbiota and subsequent consequences for health status, along with opportunities to modulate the microbiota for improved health and the potential of the microbiome as a biomarker to predict responsiveness to dietary components. In particular, in Part I, we examine the development of the microbiota from birth and its role in health. We investigate the consequences of poor-quality diet in relation to infection and inflammation and discuss diet-derived microbial metabolites which negatively impact health. We look at the role of diet in shaping the microbiome and the influence of specific dietary components, namely protein, fat and carbohydrates, on gut microbiota composition.
  • Nanoemulsions and acidified milk gels as a strategy for improving stability and antioxidant activity of yarrow phenolic compounds after gastrointestinal digestion

    Villalva, M.; Jaime, L.; Arranz, E.; Zhao, Z.; Corredig, M.; Reglero, G.; Santoyo, S. (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
    The aim of this study was to improve the stability and antioxidant activity of yarrow phenolic compounds upon an in vitro simulated gastrointestinal digestion. Therefore, two types of caseins-based delivery systems, sodium caseinate stabilized nanoemulsions (NEs) and glucono delta-lactone acidified milk gels (MGs), were formulated containing an ultrasound-assisted yarrow extract (YE) at two concentrations (1 and 2.5 mg/mL). Formulations with 1 mg/mL of YE were chosen based on their higher encapsulation efficiency to perform the in vitro digestion experiments. After digestion, YE-loaded NEs only partially protected phenolic compounds from degradation; meanwhile the phenolic composition of YE including in MGs after digestion was quite similar to undigested YE. Moreover, the antioxidant activity of MGs after digestion was higher than NEs digested samples, which confirms the higher protection of YE phenolic compound by the milk gels systems. This research demonstrated the potential use of acidified MGs as carriers to improve the stability and antioxidant activity of yarrow phenolic compounds. Therefore, these matrices could be employed to develop new dairy products enriched with phenolic compounds.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus JCM 1132 Strain and Its Mutant with Different Bacteriocin-Producing Behaviour Have Various In Situ Effects on the Gut Microbiota of Healthy Mice

    Wang, Gang; Yu, Yunxia; Garcia-Gutierrez, Enriqueta; Jin, Xing; He, Yufeng; Wang, Linlin; Tian, Peijun; Liu, Zhenmin; Zhao, Jianxin; Zhang, Hao; et al. (MDPI AG, 2019-12-25)
    The production of bacteriocin is considered to be a probiotic trait of lactic acid bacteria (LAB). However, not all strains of LAB harbour bacteriocin genes, even within the same species. Moreover, the effects of bacteriocins on the host gut microbiota and on host physiological indicators are rarely studied. This study evaluated the effects of the bacteriocin-producing Lactobacillus acidophilus strain JCM1132 and its non-producing spontaneous mutant, L. acidophilus CCFM720, on the physiological statuses and gut microbiota of healthy mice. Mice that received the bacteriocin-producing strain JCM1132 exhibited reduced water and food intake. Furthermore, the administration of these strains induced significant changes in the compositional abundance of faecal microbiota at the phylum and genus levels, and some of these changes were more pronounced after one week of withdrawal. The effects of CCFM720 treatment on the gut microbiota seemed to favour the prevention of metabolic diseases to some extent. However, individuals that received JCM1132 treatment exhibited weaker inflammatory responses than those that received CCFM720 treatment. Our results indicate that treatment with bacteriocin-producing or non-producing strains can have different effects on the host. Accordingly, this trait should be considered in the applications of LAB.
  • Bioaccessibility and Cellular Uptake of β-Carotene Encapsulated in Model O/W Emulsions: Influence of Initial Droplet Size and Emulsifiers

    Lu, Wei; Kelly, Alan; Miao, Song; China Scholarship Council; National Natural Science Foundation of China; 201508300001; 31628016 (MDPI AG, 2017-09-20)
    The effects of the initial emulsion structure (droplet size and emulsifier) on the properties of β-carotene-loaded emulsions and the bioavailability of β-carotene after passing through simulated gastrointestinal tract (GIT) digestion were investigated. Exposure to GIT significantly changed the droplet size, surface charge and composition of all emulsions, and these changes were dependent on their initial droplet size and the emulsifiers used. Whey protein isolate (WPI)-stabilized emulsion showed the highest β-carotene bioaccessibility, while sodium caseinate (SCN)-stabilized emulsion showed the highest cellular uptake of β-carotene. The bioavailability of emulsion-encapsulated β-carotene based on the results of bioaccessibility and cellular uptake showed the same order with the results of cellular uptake being SCN > TW80 > WPI. An inconsistency between the results of bioaccessibility and bioavailability was observed, indicating that the cellular uptake assay is necessary for a reliable evaluation of the bioavailability of emulsion-encapsulated compounds. The findings in this study contribute to a better understanding of the correlation between emulsion structure and the digestive fate of emulsion-encapsulated nutrients, which make it possible to achieve controlled or potential targeted delivery of nutrients by designing the structure of emulsion-based carriers.
  • Measurement of syneretic properties of rennet-induced curds and impact of factors such as concentration of milk: A review

    Panthi, Ram R.; Kelly, Alan L.; O'Callaghan, Donal J.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Dairy Research Ireland; 6259 (Elsevier BV, 2019-09)
    Background The rate or extent of whey expulsion or syneresis from cheese curds during stirring in-vat determines curd moisture levels, which subsequently influences cheese moisture content. The outward migration of whey depends on curd contraction and on the structure of the pores permitting whey movement. Curd syneretic properties are one of the least understood areas of cheese science, particularly when milk of varying composition is used. Scope and approach This review provides an insight into the mechanisms of curd formation and curd syneresis, and factors influencing syneretic properties in unconcentrated and concentrated milk and appraises syneresis measurement methods in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses. Key findings and conclusions Direct measurement of moisture content of curds is recommended as a simple and reliable method for measurement of syneresis of industrial relevance and, although inline measurement for curd moisture prediction has been a significant development in the last decade, its application to commercial production is still limited. A review of previous studies found that experimental conditions and methodologies used to measure syneresis vary widely, making it difficult to compare data between studies. Overall, interactions between process variables employed determines whether syneresis is accentuated or inhibited, and this can be exploited by cheese producers to attain target curd moisture contents by varying process parameters, particularly when milk is concentrated prior to cheese-making. Furthermore, further studies should be focused on endogenous syneresis and casein network rearrangement to clearly elucidate this mechanism and its influence on macrosyneresis under dynamic conditions.
  • Optimisation of Ultrasound Frequency, Extraction Time and Solvent for the Recovery of Polyphenols, Phlorotannins and Associated Antioxidant Activity from Brown Seaweeds

    Ummat, Viruja; Tiwari, Brijesh K; Jaiswal, Amit K; Condon, Kevin; Garcia-Vaquero, Marco; O’Doherty, John; O’Donnell, Colm; Rajauria, Gaurav; Science Foundation Ireland; 16/RC/3889; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-05-11)
    This study investigates ultrasound assisted extraction (UAE) process parameters (time, frequency and solvent) to obtain high yields of phlorotannins, flavonoids, total phenolics and associated antioxidant activities from 11 brown seaweed species. Optimised UAE conditions (35 kHz, 30 min and 50% ethanol) significantly improved the extraction yield from 1.5-fold to 2.2-fold in all seaweeds investigated compared to solvent extraction. Using ultrasound, the highest recovery of total phenolics (TPC: 572.3 ± 3.2 mg gallic acid equivalent/g), total phlorotannins (TPhC: 476.3 ± 2.2 mg phloroglucinol equivalent/g) and total flavonoids (TFC: 281.0 ± 1.7 mg quercetin equivalent/g) was obtained from Fucus vesiculosus seaweed. While the lowest recovery of TPC (72.6 ± 2.9 mg GAE/g), TPhC (50.3 ± 2.0 mg PGE/g) and TFC (15.2 ± 3.3 mg QE/g) was obtained from Laminaria digitata seaweed. However, extracts from Fucus serratus obtained by UAE exhibited the strongest 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging activity (29.1 ± 0.25 mg trolox equivalent/g) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) value (63.9 ± 0.74 mg trolox equivalent/g). UAE under optimised conditions was an effective, low-cost and eco-friendly technique to recover biologically active polyphenols from 11 brown seaweed species.
  • Dietary Supplementation with a Magnesium-Rich Marine Mineral Blend Enhances the Diversity of Gastrointestinal Microbiota

    Crowley, Erin; Long-Smith, Caitriona; Murphy, Amy; Patterson, Elaine; Murphy, Kiera; O’Gorman, Denise; Stanton, Catherine; Nolan, Yvonne; Science Foundation Ireland; European Union; et al. (MDPI AG, 2018-06-20)
    Accumulating evidence demonstrates that dietary supplementation with functional food ingredients play a role in systemic and brain health as well as in healthy ageing. Conversely, deficiencies in calcium and magnesium as a result of the increasing prevalence of a high fat/high sugar “Western diet” have been associated with health problems such as obesity, inflammatory bowel diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as metabolic, immune, and psychiatric disorders. It is now recognized that modulating the diversity of gut microbiota, the population of intestinal bacteria, through dietary intervention can significantly impact upon gut health as well as systemic and brain health. In the current study, we show that supplementation with a seaweed and seawater-derived functional food ingredient rich in bioactive calcium and magnesium (0.1% supplementation) as well as 70 other trace elements, significantly enhanced the gut microbial diversity in adult male rats. Given the significant impact of gut microbiota on health, these results position this marine multi-mineral blend (MMB) as a promising digestive-health promoting functional food ingredient.
  • Current Status and Future Prospects of Marine Natural Products (MNPs) as Antimicrobials

    Choudhary, Alka; Naughton, Lynn; Montánchez, Itxaso; Dobson, Alan; Rai, Dilip; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; FIRM 11/F/009 (MDPI AG, 2017-08-28)
    The marine environment is a rich source of chemically diverse, biologically active natural products, and serves as an invaluable resource in the ongoing search for novel antimicrobial compounds. Recent advances in extraction and isolation techniques, and in state-of-the-art technologies involved in organic synthesis and chemical structure elucidation, have accelerated the numbers of antimicrobial molecules originating from the ocean moving into clinical trials. The chemical diversity associated with these marine-derived molecules is immense, varying from simple linear peptides and fatty acids to complex alkaloids, terpenes and polyketides, etc. Such an array of structurally distinct molecules performs functionally diverse biological activities against many pathogenic bacteria and fungi, making marine-derived natural products valuable commodities, particularly in the current age of antimicrobial resistance. In this review, we have highlighted several marine-derived natural products (and their synthetic derivatives), which have gained recognition as effective antimicrobial agents over the past five years (2012–2017). These natural products have been categorized based on their chemical structures and the structure-activity mediated relationships of some of these bioactive molecules have been discussed. Finally, we have provided an insight into how genome mining efforts are likely to expedite the discovery of novel antimicrobial compounds.
  • The Identification of a SIRT6 Activator from Brown Algae Fucus distichus

    Rahnasto-Rilla, Minna; McLoughlin, Padraig; Kulikowicz, Tomasz; Doyle, Maire; Bohr, Vilhelm; Lahtela-Kakkonen, Maija; Ferrucci, Luigi; Hayes, Maria; Moaddel, Ruin; NIA Intramural Research Program; et al. (MDPI AG, 2017-06-21)
    Brown seaweeds contain many bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, polysaccharides, fucosterol, and fucoxantin. These compounds have several biological activities, including anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-tumor, anti-hypertensive, and anti-diabetic activity, although in most cases their mechanisms of action are not understood. In this study, extracts generated from five brown algae (Fucus dichitus, Fucus vesiculosus (Linnaeus), Cytoseira tamariscofolia, Cytoseira nodacaulis, Alaria esculenta) were tested for their ability to activate SIRT6 resulting in H3K9 deacetylation. Three of the five macroalgal extracts caused a significant increase of H3K9 deacetylation, and the effect was most pronounced for F. dichitus. The compound responsible for this in vitro activity was identified by mass spectrometry as fucoidan.
  • Delivery of β-carotene to the in vitro intestinal barrier using nanoemulsions with lecithin or sodium caseinate as emulsifiers

    Gasa-Falcon, Ariadna; Arranz, Elena; Odriozola-Serrano, Isabel; Martín-Belloso, Olga; Giblin, Linda; Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad; Enterprise Ireland; European Union; Science Foundation Ireland; Agencia de Gestio d’Ajuts Universitaris I de Recerca; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2021-01)
    To increase the intestinal delivery of dietary β-carotene, there is a need to develop nanostructured food systems to encapsulate this fat soluble bioactive. The aim of this study was to evaluate the bioacessibility and bioavailability across the intestinal barrier of β-carotene-enriched nanoemulsions stabilised with two emulsifiers (lecithin or sodium caseinate) by coupling an in vitro gastrointestinal digestion with two in vitro cell culture models (Caco-2 or co-culture of Caco-2/HT29-MTX). Nanoemulsions stabilised with lecithin had significantly higher β-carotene in the gastrointestinal digested micellar fraction, lower β-carotene in the Caco-2 (and Caco-2/HT29-MTX) apical compartment and significantly higher β-carotene in Caco-2 cellular content compared to β-carotene-enriched nanoemulsions stabilised with sodium caseinate. Finally, to assess anti-inflammatory activity of digested nanoemulsions, lipopolysaccharide stimulated macrophages were exposed to Caco- 2 basolateral samples with levels of TNF-α and IL-β, subsequently quantified. A TNF-α response from stimulated THP-1 macrophages was elicited by basolateral samples, regardless the emulsifier used to formulate nanoemulsions. This study demonstrated that β-carotene permeability is influenced by the food derived emulsifier used for stabilising nanoemulsions, indicating that composition may be a critical factor for β-carotene delivery.
  • Hydrogel-based Bio-nanomachine Transmitters for Bacterial Molecular Communications

    Martins, Daniel P.; O'Reilly, Huong Q.; Coffey, Lee; Cotter, Paul D.; Balasubramaniam, Sasitharan; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; 16/RC/3835 (ACM, 2020-11-16)
    Bacterial quorum sensing can be engineered with a view to the design of biotechnological applications based on their intrinsic role as a means of communication. We propose the creation of a positive feedback loop that will promote the emission of a superfolded green fluorescence protein from a bacterial population that will flow through hydrogel, which is used to encapsulate the cells. These engineered cells are heretofore referred to as bio-nanomachine transmitters and we show that for lower values of diffusion coefficient, a higher molecular output signal power can be produced, which supports the use of engineered bacteria contained within hydrogels for molecular communications systems. In addition, our wet lab results show the propagation of the molecular output signal, proving the feasibility of engineering a positive feedback loop to create a bio-nanomachine transmitter that can be used for biosensing applications.
  • Seaweed Components as Potential Modulators of the Gut Microbiota

    Shannon, Emer; Conlon, Michael; Hayes, Maria; Marie Skłodowska-Curie; 754380. (MDPI AG, 2021-06-23)
    Macroalgae, or seaweeds, are a rich source of components which may exert beneficial effects on the mammalian gut microbiota through the enhancement of bacterial diversity and abundance. An imbalance of gut bacteria has been linked to the development of disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, immunodeficiency, hypertension, type-2-diabetes, obesity, and cancer. This review outlines current knowledge from in vitro and in vivo studies concerning the potential therapeutic application of seaweed-derived polysaccharides, polyphenols and peptides to modulate the gut microbiota through diet. Polysaccharides such as fucoidan, laminarin, alginate, ulvan and porphyran are unique to seaweeds. Several studies have shown their potential to act as prebiotics and to positively modulate the gut microbiota. Prebiotics enhance bacterial populations and often their production of short chain fatty acids, which are the energy source for gastrointestinal epithelial cells, provide protection against pathogens, influence immunomodulation, and induce apoptosis of colon cancer cells. The oral bioaccessibility and bioavailability of seaweed components is also discussed, including the advantages and limitations of static and dynamic in vitro gastrointestinal models versus ex vivo and in vivo methods. Seaweed bioactives show potential for use in prevention and, in some instances, treatment of human disease. However, it is also necessary to confirm these potential, therapeutic effects in large-scale clinical trials. Where possible, we have cited information concerning these trials
  • The potential of non-starter lactic acid bacteria from Cheddar cheese to colonise the gut

    Leeuwendaal, N.; STANTON, CATHERINE; O'Toole, P.W.; Beresford, Tom; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; JPI Food Processing for Health; 2014073 (Elsevier BV, 2021-05-27)
    This study was undertaken to assess the potential of Non-Starter Lactic Acid Bacteria (NSLAB) from Cheddar cheese to survive gastric transit and display probiotic-related traits including bile salt hydrolase activity, the ability to adhere to the gut epithelium and inhibition of enteropathogen binding. Populations of NSLAB, up to 107 CFU/g per cheese were recovered following exposure of cheese to Simulated Stomach Duodenum Passage (SSDP) conditions. A total of 240 isolates were randomly selected from twelve Cheddar cheeses and assessed for probiotic traits. Two strains Lactobacillus paracasei DPC 7150 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus DPC 7102 showed the most probiotic potential. The Lb. paracasei and Lb. rhamnosus strains displayed adhesion rates of 64% and 79%, respectively and inhibited binding of pathogenic Escherichia coli by >20%. This research demonstrates that Cheddar cheese harbours potentially beneficial bacteria, a large portion of which can survive simulated digestion and potentially exhibit health beneficial effects once ingested.
  • Protein quality and quantity influence the effect of dietary fat on weight gain and tissue partitioning via host-microbiota changes

    Nychyk, Oleksandr; Barton, Wiley; Rudolf, Agata M.; Boscaini, Serena; Walsh, Aaron; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F.S.; Giblin, Linda; Cormican, Paul; Chen, Liang; Piotrowicz, Yolanda; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2021-05-11)
    We investigated how protein quantity (10%–30%) and quality (casein and whey) interact with dietary fat (20%–55%) to affect metabolic health in adult mice. Although dietary fat was the main driver of body weight gain and individual tissue weight, high (30%) casein intake accentuated and high whey intake reduced the negative metabolic aspects of high fat. Jejunum and liver transcriptomics revealed increased intestinal permeability, low-grade inflammation, altered lipid metabolism, and liver dysfunction in casein-fed but not whey-fed animals. These differential effects were accompanied by altered gut size and microbial functions related to amino acid degradation and lipid metabolism. Fecal microbiota transfer confirmed that the casein microbiota increases and the whey microbiota impedes weight gain. These data show that the effects of dietary fat on weight gain and tissue partitioning are further influenced by the quantity and quality of the associated protein, primarily via effects on the microbiota.
  • Genome-Wide Profiling of Enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus Strains Used for the Production of Naturally Contaminated Cheeses

    Macori, Guerrino; Bellio, Alberto; Bianchi, Daniela Manila; Chiesa, Francesco; Gallina, Silvia; Romano, Angelo; Zuccon, Fabio; Cabrera-Rubio, Raúl; Cauquil, Alexandra; Merda, Déborah; et al. (MDPI AG, 2019-12-27)
    Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen and an important cause of livestock infections. More than 20 staphylococcal enterotoxins with emetic activity can be produced by specific strains responsible for staphylococcal food poisoning, one of the most common food-borne diseases. Whole genome sequencing provides a comprehensive view of the genome structure and gene content that have largely been applied in outbreak investigations and genomic comparisons. In this study, six enterotoxigenic S. aureus strains were characterised using a combination of molecular, phenotypical and computational methods. The genomes were analysed for the presence of virulence factors (VFs), where we identified 110 genes and classified them into five categories: adherence (n = 31), exoenzymes (n = 28), genes involved in host immune system evasion (n = 7); iron uptake regulatory system (n = 8); secretion machinery factors and toxins’ genes (n = 36), and 39 genes coding for transcriptional regulators related to staphylococcal VFs. Each group of VFs revealed correlations among the six enterotoxigenic strains, and further analysis revealed their accessory genomic content, including mobile genetic elements. The plasmids pLUH02 and pSK67 were detected in the strain ProNaCC1 and ProNaCC7, respectively, carrying out the genes sed, ser, and selj. The genes carried out by prophages were detected in the strain ProNaCC2 (see), ProNaCC4, and ProNaCC7 (both positive for sea). The strain ProNaCC5 resulted positive for the genes seg, sei, sem, sen, seo grouped in an exotoxin gene cluster, and the strain ProNaCC6 resulted positive for seh, a transposon-associated gene. The six strains were used for the production of naturally contaminated cheeses which were tested with the European Screening Method for staphylococcal enterotoxins. The results obtained from the analysis of toxins produced in cheese, combined with the genomic features represent a portrait of the strains that can be used for the production of staphylococcal enterotoxin-positive cheese as reference material.
  • Is there evidence for bacterial transfer via the placenta and any role in the colonization of the infant gut? – a systematic review

    Gil, Angel; Rueda, Ricardo; Ozanne, Susan E.; van der Beek, Eline M.; van Loo-Bouwman, Carolien; Schoemaker, Marieke; Marinello, Vittoria; Venema, Koen; Stanton, Catherine; Schelkle, Bettina; et al. (Taylor and Francis, 2020-08-05)
    With the important role of the gut microbiome in health and disease, it is crucial to understand key factors that establish the microbial community, including gut colonization during infancy. It has been suggested that the first bacterial exposure is via a placental microbiome. However, despite many publications, the robustness of the evidence for the placental microbiome and transfer of bacteria from the placenta to the infant gut is unclear and hence the concept disputed. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of the evidence for the role of the placental, amniotic fluid and cord blood microbiome in healthy mothers in the colonization of the infant gut. Most of the papers which were fully assessed considered placental tissue, but some studied amniotic fluid or cord blood. Great variability in methodology was observed especially regarding sample storage conditions, DNA/RNA extraction, and microbiome characterization. No study clearly considered transfer of the normal placental microbiome to the infant gut. Moreover, some studies in the review and others published subsequently reported little evidence for a placental microbiome in comparison to negative controls. In conclusion, current data are limited and provide no conclusive evidence that there is a normal placental microbiome which has any role in colonization of infant gut.
  • Gut microbes from the phylogenetically diverse genus Eubacterium and their various contributions to gut health

    Mukherjee, Arghya; Lordan, Cathy; Ross, R. Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship; Science Foundation Ireland; EU; 15/F/635; 2017047; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2020-08-23)
    Over the last two decades our understanding of the gut microbiota and its contribution to health and disease has been transformed. Among a new ‘generation’ of potentially beneficial microbes to have been recognized are members of the genus Eubacterium, who form a part of the core human gut microbiome. The genus consists of phylogenetically, and quite frequently phenotypically, diverse species, making Eubacterium a taxonomically unique and challenging genus. Several members of the genus produce butyrate, which plays a critical role in energy homeostasis, colonic motility, immunomodulation and suppression of inflammation in the gut. Eubacterium spp. also carry out bile acid and cholesterol transformations in the gut, thereby contributing to their homeostasis. Gut dysbiosis and a consequently modified representation of Eubacterium spp. in the gut, have been linked with various human disease states. This review provides an overview of Eubacterium species from a phylogenetic perspective, describes how they alter with diet and age and summarizes its association with the human gut and various health conditions.
  • Association of Habitual Dietary Fiber Intake and Fecal Microbiome Gene Abundance with Gastrointestinal Symptoms in an Irritable Bowel Syndrome Cohort

    Roy, Nicole; Heenan, Phoebe; Wall, Catherine; Young, Wayne; Carco, Caterina; Keenan, Jacqueline; Cotter, Paul; Maclean, Paul; Mullaney, Jane; Fraser, Karl; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-05-29)
    Objectives: Dietary fibre supplementation is recognised as important for functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). The exact role of the microbiome in this relationship remains unclear. We explored differences in dietary fibre intake, GI symptoms and the fecal microbiome in those with FGID.

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