Navigation Links
York scientists investigate the fiber of our being

We are all aware of the health benefits of "dietary fibre". But what is dietary fibre and how do we metabolise it?

Research at the University of York's Structural Biology Laboratory, in collaboration with groups in Canada, the USA and Sweden, has begun to uncover how our gut bacteria metabolise the complex dietary carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables.

Trillions of bacteria live in human intestines - there are about ten times more bacterial cells in the average person's body than human ones. Known as "microbiota", these bacteria have a vital role to play in human health: they are central to our metabolism and well-being.

The research team has uncovered how one group of gut bacteria, known as Bacteroidetes, digest complex sugars known as xyloglucans. These make up to 25 per cent of the dry weight of dietary fruit and vegetables including lettuce, onion, aubergine and tomatoes.

Understanding how these bacteria digest complex carbohydrates informs studies on a wide range of nutritional issues. These include prebiotics (the consumption of 'beneficial' micro-organisms as a food supplement) and probiotics (the consumption of foods or supplements intended to stimulate the production of healthy bacteria in the gut).

Researchers from the York Structural Biology Laboratory in the University's Department of Chemistry, and international collaborators have carried out detailed structural and mechanistic studies into the precise functioning of specific enzymes. This work has shed further light on which organisms can and cannot digest certain fruits and vegetables, and how and why the "good bacteria" do what they do.

Professor Gideon Davies, who led the research at York, said: "Despite our omnivorous diet, humans aren't well equipped to eat complex plant matter; for this we rely on our gut bacteria. This work is helping us to understand the science of that process.

"The possible implications for commerce and industry extend beyond the realm of human nutrition, however. The study of how enzymes break down plant matter is also of direct relevance to the development of processes for environmentally-friendly energy solutions such as biofuels." The research at York was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)


Contact: Caron Lett
University of York

Related biology news :

1. Stanford scientists develop gene therapy approach to grow blood vessels in ischemic limbs
2. Queens scientists seek vaccine for Pseudomonas infection
3. Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
4. American Society of Plant Biologists honors early career women scientists
5. Brandeis scientists win prestigious prize for circadian rhythms research
6. Scientists discover new method of proton transfer
7. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
8. - Now Featuring Bespoke Pages for China’s Life Scientists
9. Scientists win $2 million to study new pathway in development and maintenance of lymphoma
10. UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings
11. Genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings revealed by scientists
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/7/2015)... -- --> --> According ... third quarter 2015 amounted to around 960 MSEK. This exceeds ... was communicated 20 August 2015. --> ... a continued growing demand for the company,s products, the revenues ... than during the third quarter. The revenue guidance for 2015 ...
(Date:10/2/2015)... Oct. 02 2015 ... "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" report ... has announced the addition of the "Enforcing ... offering. --> Research and Markets ( ... "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" report ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... Calif. , Sept. 29, 2015 ... improves employee productivity while also saving energy , ... such as Low Power Active Mode and embedded Fujitsu ... transformation Fujitsu today shows that good ... new and refreshed models to its enterprise desktop and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... BRUSSELS , Oct. 12, 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... findings from an exploratory sub-study of the previously reported romosozumab ... in an oral plenary session at the American Society for ... Seattle . 2 ... exploratory sub-study data showed that, at month 12, the investigational ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ), the leading regenerative ... to develop and market advanced products and therapies for ... and the Dental sectors of healthcare, announced today the ... Company has been dismissed by the court.  ... "As we suspected, this case was brought by an ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Oct. 12, 2015  Rebiotix Inc. today announced ... designated its lead Microbiota Restoration Therapy (MRT) RBX2660 ... recurrent Clostridium difficile (C diff) infection, ... causes 29,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. 1 ... that was founded to revolutionize the treatment of ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... octubre de 2015 El 8 de octubre, ... récord en el congreso con su declaración acerca del ... Plasma Awareness Week (IPAW), que se celebrará del 11 ... la Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) y ... , Aumentar la concienciación mundial acerca de la donación ...
Breaking Biology Technology: