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Evaluating the prebiotic influence of selected herbs

Project Description

"Prebiotics are dietary carbohydrates, and possibly polyphenols, that are resistant to upper gut hydrolysis and enter the human large intestine intact. Their ingestion leads to alterations in the composition and activity of the profuse indigenous microbiota in a selective manner that is said to improve host health. Moreover, the products of prebiotic fermentation (for example, short chain fatty acids) can have local and systemic health effects e.g. in terms of cognitive, cardiovascular and metabolic well-being. We propose to carry this out in this study in collaboration with Pukka Herbs, using a variety of herbs.
Hypothesis: Certain herbs exert prebiotic capacity (e.g. from fibre and/or polyphenol content) that alters gut microbiota and metabolism in a manner that improves health.
Aims and objectives: The primary aim of this study is to assess a range of herbs for their prebiotic potential. This will involve in vitro then in vivo testing.
• Characterise gut microbiome composition and activity in response to fermentation of the products in vitro, using human gut model systems
• Assess host-gut microbiota interactions (through measurement of microbial and metabolic activity), following consumption of herbs, in a human intervention study
• Evaluate the impact of the herbs on gut and overall system health, by measuring biomarkers of health pre and post intervention"

Funding Notes

Fees are covered, as are laboratory expenses. Stipend is standard BBSRC rates

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in microbiology, food science or nutrition.

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