The ELDERMET biobank: Isolation and characterization of the intestinal microbiota from elderly Irish subjects

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Lakshminarayanan, Bhuvaneswari
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University College Cork
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The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract is colonized by a dense and diverse bacterial community, the commensal microbiota, which plays an important role in the overall health of individuals. This microbiota is relatively stable throughout adult life, but may fluctuate over time with aging and disease. The adaptation of the gut microbiota to our changing life-style is probably the reason for the large inter-individual variation observed among different people. Since the gut microbiota plays an essential role in interactions with host metabolism, it is of utmost importance to explore this relationship. The elderly intestinal microbiota has been the subject of a number of studies in recent years. The results presented in this thesis have further contributed to the expansion of knowledge related to gut microbiota research highlighting the combined effect of culture based and molecular methods as powerful tools for understanding the true impact of microbes. The degree of correlation between measurements from both methods suggested that a single method is capable of profiling intestinal Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Enterobacteriaceae populations. Bacteriocins have shown great promise as alternatives to traditional antibiotics. In this respect, the isolation and characterisation of bacteriocinogenic strains are important due to growing evidence indicating bacteriocin production as a potential probiotic trait by virtue of strain dominance and/or pathogen inhibition in the mammalian intestine. The selection pressure applied on the bacterial population during antibiotic usage is the driving force for the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Identification of antibiotic resistant isolates opens up the possibility of using such probiotics to offset the problems caused by antibiotics to the gut microbiota and to improve the intestinal microbial environment. Future work is required to explore the culture collection housing thousands of bacterial isolates as a valuable source of potential probiotics for use for the elderly Irish community.
Probiotics , Bacteriocins , Antibiotics , Intestinal microbiota , ELDERMET
Lakshminarayanan, B. 2014. The ELDERMET biobank: Isolation and characterization of the intestinal microbiota from elderly Irish subjects. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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