In addition to genetic and environmental factors, diet and nutrition is widely recognized as a key factor affecting the composition and function of the gut microbiome. Within this field of research, particular attention has been paid to the role of prebiotics.
A dietary prebiotic is any food-based compound that induces the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms. Dietary prebiotics are commonly non-digestible fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, and which then stimulate a beneficial effect in the gut microbiome.
Gut Microbiome Research Applications
The wide range of positive health effects of different prebiotics, combined with the ease with which they can be administered, is driving an exponential increase in the research and application of prebiotics across a wide range of nutritional areas and products, including:
- Effects of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) and infant formulas on the microbiome and infant health
- Prebiotic nutritional supplements for obesity prevention and improved metabolic health
- Prebiotic ‘super-foods’ for better general gut health
Our Services for Prebiotics and Nutrition Analysis
Our microbiome analysis platform and pipelines provide our partners with the capability to investigate the effect and impact of prebiotics and other nutritional interventions on the microbiome in either adult or infant studies.
Sample Preparation - We offer DNA extraction for all types of prebiotic and nutrition projects, performed under highly controlled and traceable conditions in our advanced, Copenhagen-based, ISO17025 certified laboratory.
Sequencing - We offer Illumina-based shotgun metagenomic sequencing.
Data Analysis - We assist our clients to investigate how the composition and functional potential of either adult or infant gut microbiomes changes from specific prebiotic interventions. Furthermore, we can perform correlation analyses between prebiotic-induced changes in the gut microbiome and effects on clinical measures to hint towards the underlying mechanisms.
Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs)
We have particular expertise in Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) research. The infant gut microbiome includes diverse but specific microbial strains, which are capable of breaking down HMOs. Effects of prebiotic interventions on the microbiome can be concealed, for example HMOs are metabolized by different Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides strains in different infants. Our shotgun metagenomic pipeline, overcomes this obstacle by grouping strains based on their functional potential for e.g. breaking down HMOs.
Below we have outlined our pipeline for integrative analysis of the effects of HMOs. The pipeline can be adjusted to target different nutritional products.
Aron Eklund, PhD, Director of Bioinformatics
We have experience from a wide range of prebiotic intervention studies - both in animals models and in infant and adult clinical studies. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your project.