Investigating the Effect of Diet on Intestinal Microbiota Composition and Metabolic Functions in Pigs



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Human gut harbors microorganisms that play an important role in maintaining health. Dysbiosis or unbalanced gut microbiota has been associated with several intestinal disorders and mental health problems. Diet has an effect on the composition and activity of the microorganisms in the human gut and can be used to modulate specific gut microbial species that promote human health. The goal of this research study is to investigate the effect of dietary interventions on promoting health using the pig as a translational model for humans. Our hypothesis is that dietary composition has the potential to affect host metabolism by modifying intestinal microbiota composition and associated metabolic functions. Specifically, we focused on three objectives:1. Evaluate and compare the potential prebiotic effect of cocoa-derived flavonoids; 2. Evaluate and compare the potential prebiotic effect of Agaricus bisporus (Mushroom) derived polysaccharides; 3. Determine the detrimental impact of high fat and/or high fructose diet on host microbiome composition and function. Using 16S rRNA sequencing, we identify dietary induced differences in bacterial abundance with inferred carbohydrate and energy metabolism in pigs that consumed cocoa derived flavonoids. Bacterial abundance analysis with Linear discriminant analysis Effect Size (LEfSe) demonstrates the prebiotic effect of cocoa due to enrichment of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, and members of family Lachnospiraceae. Pigs fed with mushroom diet induced an increase in bacterial abundance belonging to families Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcaceae, and Prevotellaceae with improvement in inferred metabolic function for carbohydrate and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Dietary intervention with excess calories derived from fat and fructose induced changes in the Proteobacteria families Enterobacteriaceae, Desulfovibrionaceae, and Succinivibrionaceae, which resulted in increased metabolic pathways for LPS biosynthesis and associated protein and enzymes such as glycosyltransferases. Taken together, these data suggest that a short dietary intervention can be exploited as a mechanism to modify host metabolic function and to impact overall health.