Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Gut bacteria adapting to NZers' love of fruit and veg

Gut bacteria adapting to New Zealanders' love of fruit and veg


19 February 2019

The discovery of the first gut bacterium that specialises in breaking down a hard-to-digest substance found in plants suggests that the human gut microbiome is evolving to accommodate our consumption of fibre-rich foods.

Plant & Food Research scientists, in collaboration with New Zealand and international research partners, discovered a new human gut bacterium Monoglobus pectinilyticus the first specialist bacterium for pectin degradation and utilisation.

Pectin is a plant’s natural barrier to protect against bacterial attacks. It is also a primary source of dietary fibre for humans. This structurally complex carbohydrate is not a palatable food source for most bacteria as it is not high in energy. Yet, gut bacteria face the dilemma of having to break down the pectin barrier in order to access and digest nutritious plant materials for survival. How gut bacteria get around this problem is important for human health and increasing nutritional yields from dietary plants.

“M. pectinilyticus is a dedicated microorganism for breaking down pectin, a dietary fibre that makes up 40% of the plant cell wall in common fruits and vegetables such as kiwifruit and tomato,” says Dr Caroline Kim, the Plant & Food Research scientist who leads the project. “The process wasn’t well-understood until now because few pectin-degrading bacteria exist and none as specialised as M. pectinilyticus.

“This had left a large gap in our knowledge of how this abundant and important component of human diet is used inside our bodies. The high degree of specialisation shows that the typically abundant pectin consumption in the human diet may have placed evolutionary pressure on our gut microbiome to make room for specialist bacteria with dedicated niche and function for pectin degradation. Since M. pectinilyticus only utilises pectin and no other types of carbohydrates, this organism will provide valuable insights into how gut microbes interact with plant pectin and ultimately begin the process of plant digestion in the human colon.”

The team analysed the faecal samples and dietary intakes of 44 healthy people in New Zealand over 10 weeks. They found that the presence of M. pectinilyticus positively correlates to the participants’ pectin consumption - the more fibre one eats, the more likely that this beneficial microorganism is present.

The study, “Genomic insights from Monoglobus pectinilyticus: a pectin-degrading specialist bacterium in the human colon”, is published in the February 2019 issue of The ISME Journal, a top academic journal in microbial ecology (https://plantandfood.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1b46d14e528ad30bae8b3663c&id=eb4a170696&e=5b367992d8).


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Reserve Bank: RBNZ To Implement $30bn Large Scale Asset Purchase Programme Of NZ Govt Bonds

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to implement a Large Scale Asset Purchase programme (LSAP) of New Zealand government bonds. The negative economic implications of the coronavirus outbreak have continued to intensify. The Committee ... More>>

ALSO:

Elevate NZ: Venture Fund To Lift Productivity

The Government’s new $300 million venture capital fund - announced in last year’s Budget – is now open for business as the Elevate NZ Venture Fund. Finance Minister Grant Robertson says lifting New Zealand's productivity requires well-functioning ... More>>

ALSO:


COVID-19: Case Confirmed In NZ – Expert Reaction

After spreading across the globe for months, the first case of COVID-19 has been reported in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health says the risk of a community outbreak is low, due to their preparedness and the high awareness of the disease. The Science ... More>>

ALSO:

Agriculture: New Legislation To Boost Organics

New organics legislation will boost consumer confidence and help grow an innovative sector, says Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Organics Product Bill, introduced to Parliament this week, aims to increase consumer confidence when purchasing ... More>>

ALSO:

Biodiversity Policy: Misinformation Circulating

Forest & Bird is concerned at misinformation circulating regarding a policy statement aimed at protecting New Zealand’s unique biodiversity. The National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity is being consulted on by the ... More>>

ALSO: