Study Paves Way for Developing India-Specific Probiotics
The Indian diet is richer in carbohydrates and fibre than the Western.
The human gut contains 300-500 types of bacteria that are necessary for the survival of human beings. They help in digestion, protect the body from infections and even produce essential vitamins and neurochemicals. Most studies so far on them have been based on the western world population. They have also not correlated the type of dominant gut bacteria with the type of diet.
A new study by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) – Bhopal has filled the gap. They studied the bacterial profile of 200 gut samples taken from people from several Indian locations – Madhya Pradesh, Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Kerala.
The research has brought out significant differences in the type of gut bacteria between Indian and Western populations because of the differences in the diet patterns in these two regions. For instance, the Indian diet is richer in carbohydrates and fibre than the Western and the researchers found that the Indian gut microbiome has the highest abundance of a genus of bacteria called Prevotella and, a species called Prevotellacopri.
This bacterium significantly also dominates the guts of other populations that consume a carbohydrate- and fibre-rich diet, such as the Italian, Madagascarian, Peruvian, and Tanzanian. The gut microbiomes of people from Western countries like the USA are, instead dominated by s genus called Bacteroides.
To understand the functional roles of the Prevotella type bacteria, the researchers performed genomic analyses and found that the bacteria contained specific locations (“loci”) in their genomes that are responsible for metabolising complex plant carbohydrates and fibres.
A report on the study has been published in the Nature portfolio journal “Biofilms and Microbiomes”.
The study was led by Dr. Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences in IISER-Bhopal. The other members of the team were Mr. Vishnu Prasoodanan, Dr. Ashok Sharma, Ms. Shruti Mahajan, Dr. Darshan B. Dhakan, and Dr. Abhijit Maji of IISER-Bhopal and Dr. Joy Scaria from Animal Disease Research & Diagnostic Laboratory, South Dakota State University, USA.
Speaking about the practical implications of the work, Dr. Sharma, said, “Our insights would help in the development of new probiotics and prebiotics for different health-related conditions associated with the gut which is much needed for non-western populations.” (India Science Wire)