Effects of nutritional factors on the intestinal microbiota

The intestinal tract is colonized by a multitude of different bacterial species. The interactions between intestinal bacteria, feed and host are multifaceted and therefore, one area of research is engaged with the analysis of bacterial composition and -activity under the influence of different diets and feed additives.

Molecular biology- as well as classical microbiological methods are employed at the institute. Qualitative methods (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) as well as quantitative methods like qPCR are commonly used to determine the bacterial composition in the intestinal tract.

Bacteria are very versatile organisms and they often change their activities in dependence of their enviroment (feed, host reaction) without changing their numbers. Therefore, bacterial activity in terms of metabolite analysis or detection of RNA is also of importance. Metabolomic approaches and standard metabolite analysis belongs to the repertoire as well as „state-of-the-art“ methods like deep sequencing to characterize the intestinal microbiota in depth. These methods require a continous development of methods to better understand the intricate interplay between bacteria, feed and host.