Digestive system

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 18:30 - 19:00
Institution: 
CSIRO Livestock Industries, St. Lucia, Australia
Title: 

Differences downunder: macropodids, methane and metagenomics.

Abstract: 

The agricultural sector accounts for a large amount of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and strategies that reduce the production and (or) release of methane from ruminant livestock has resurfaced as a viable research topic. While there has been a relatively intense focus on better understanding how rumen microbiology, nutrition and (or) animal genetics might be targeted and productively altered to reduce these emissions; less attention has been directed towards the comparative study of those native Australian herbivores thought to produce small amounts of methane during feed digestion. These animals include the Australian macropodids (kangaroos and wallabies), which have evolved to retain a foregut microbiota that effectively converts plant biomass into nutrients for the host animal; and appears to do so with much less methane emitted. Our research group in Brisbane has used metagenomics approaches with a view to characterize the foregut microbiota of the Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii). There is a reduced number of methanogenic archaea resident in the macropodid foregut compared to ruminants, but the species present appear to have some unique attributes relative to their counterparts from other environments. We have also used a combination of metagenomic data and cultivation-based methods to identify and isolate several “new” bacteria that support feed digestion and fermentation schemes consistent with a low methane emitting phenotype. The structure-function relationships inherent to these interesting gut microbiomes warrant further investigation.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 19:15 - 20:00
Institution: 
University of Queensland
Title: 

The healthy human gut microbiota and how chemotherapy and antibiotics affect its composition.

Abstract: 

Recent science associates the gut microbiota composition with the development of complex diseases such as for example cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases. Now, the human gastro-intestinal microbiota must be understood as a microbial organ whose metabolism provides essential functions to the host rather than just supplementary nutrient acquisition.
The first aim of this talk is to discuss what makes a “healthy” gut microbiota together with results from analysing vegetarian and elderly gut microbiota.
The second aim will be to discuss results from analysing the gut microbiota of people undergoing chemotherapy and antibiotics.
Whether (and how) diet and age affect the gut microbiota composition is not only really interesting; knowing the diversity of healthy gut microbiotas may help us to decide which composition to restore a perturbed microbiota to, for example after chemotherapy and antibiotic treatment.

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