Effects of non-digestible carbohydrates on the intestinal microbiota of young adults and that of the elderly
In order to prevent or delay the onset of GI symptoms and diseases in the geriatric population, the current project studies composition and activity of the intestinal microbiota in elderly, as well as its response to different dietary supplementations.
The word population is ageing with an increased number of elderly, which places an increasing burden on the health system. Changes in health condition could directly and/or indirectly affect the intestinal microbial community. At the same time, dietary fibre has been stated playing an important role in health. The consumption of dietary fibres, especially some non-digestible carbohydrates, would make an effect on the microbiota composition and/or its activity. Changes in microbiota composition brought about by the consumption of dietary fibres would in turn contribute to the gastrointestinal health status.
In this study, the effect of dietary fibre supplementation is evaluated both in vivo (i.e. dietary interventions) and in vitro (i.e. batch fermentation). With the dietary intervention, we would gain insight on the direct health effect on humans, as well as its impact on the intestinal microbiota composition. However, with regards to the metabolites produced from the dietary fibres, they would be up taken by the epithelial cells and thus hard to trace afterwards. In order to, in part, complement this (i.e. get a complete picture of what happens in vivo), in vitro batch fermentations are performed with different dietary fibres supplemented.
What disciplines are involved?
In this project, you will have a chance to practice anaerobic fermentation skills and/or learn molecular microbiological and biochemical approaches, as well as learning to make ecological interpretation accordingly.
Interested in MSc or BSc thesis ?
We are looking for master and/or bachelor students who are interested in the microbial ecology of the human intestine. Detailed research would be related to microbiota profiling in the elderly and young adults and/or in vitro anaerobic fermentations to study potential differences in carbohydrate fermentation capacity between subjects of different age/health status.
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