Poster @ Rowett/INRA Meeting

Aberdeen, United Kingdom
16/06/2014 – 19/06/2014

ILSI Europe was pleased to participate at the Rowett/INRA meeting entitled ‘Gut Microbiology: from sequence to function’. The 9th Joint Symposium was organised by the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Scotland (UK) and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Clermont-Ferrand-Theix (France).


A poster of the latest work of the Prebiotics Task Force was presented during this event.

TITLE: How to assess gastrointestinal health benefits of prebiotics: focusing on microbial fermentation and metabolism
PRESENTER: Prof. Kieran Tuohy (Research and Innovation Centre-Fondazione Edmund Mach, IT)

Available evidence on the toxicological, bioactive and nutritional properties of gut microbial metabolites has been evaluated in support of a more integrated view of how prebiotics might influence host health throughout life. The literature search targeted available evidence for the physiological and nutritional effects of metabolites like short chain fatty acids (SCFA), the possible toxicity of other metabolites and determined normal concentration ranges. We assessed the biological relevance of more holistic approaches including faecal water toxicity assays, metabolomics and the limitations of fecal measurements (production v absorption rates). Existing literature indicates that protein fermentation metabolites (phenol, p-cresol, indole, ammonia), typically considered as potentially harmful, occur at concentration ranges in the colon such that no toxic effects should be produced. The various end products of saccharolytic fermentation, SCFA, may have very different effects on colonic health, host physiology, lipoprotein metabolism and appetite. Measuring SCFA concentrations in faeces however is insufficient to assess the dynamic processes of their nutrikinetics. Existing literature is limited on the usefulness of genotoxicity measures of fecal water as indicators of cancer risk. In conclusion, at present there is insufficient evidence to use changes in faecal bacterial metabolite concentrations as markers of prebiotic effectiveness. Integration of results from metabolomics and metagenomics holds promise for understanding the health implications of prebiotic microbiome modulation but currently suitable tools for data integration and interpretation are lacking. Similarly, studies measuring metabolite flux in different body compartments to provide a more accurate picture of their nutrikinetics would be useful.


For more information about this event, please visit