Gut bacteria can manufacture defences against cancer and inflammatory bowel disease

Feb 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Bacteria naturally present in the human gut could produce substances that help to protect against colon cancer and provide therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.

In a paper published in the journal Microbiology, researchers from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health and from the MTT Agrifood Research Institute in Finland report initial studies showing that bacteria in the human gut convert linoleic acid, a naturally-occurring fat in the diet, into a form called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is absorbed by the gut wall.

There are different types of CLA and not all of them have beneficial effects. The "good" form of CLA is present in dairy foods such as milk and cheese," said Dr John Wallace of the Rowett Research Institute, "but eating lots of dairy foods won't necessarily help our gut health as most of the fats are digested in the small intestine before they get to the large intestine, where most of our gut bacteria are found."

The results of these latest studies showed that several different forms of CLA are produced by gut bacteria. Fortunately, most was of the "good" kind, but Dr Wallace stressed that more extensive studies are needed. One subject produced small amounts of a CLA whose beneficial or otherwise effects are much less clear.

The implications are that, if small quantities of dietary linoleic acid can be delivered to the large intestine, the effects on gut health will be generally beneficial in most people. He added, "The results are of special interest for individuals using anti-obesity treatments that prevent the small intestine from absorbing fats.

This means that those fats - including linoleic acid - will pass into the large intestine and the gut bacteria will produce CLA. It has to be the correct CLA, so it is important to understand how individuals produce different CLA. This must depend on which types of bacteria are present."

More information: The paper, "Differences between human subjects in the composition of th faecal bacterial community and faecal metabolism of linoleic acid" by Dr John Wallace et al is published in the February issue of Microbiology (Vol. 155, part 2, pp. 513-520). mic.sgmjournals.org

Provided by University of Aberdeen

Explore further: Compact wool measurement tool may find home on the range

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Understanding the personalities of bacteria

Jan 13, 2015

Bacteria are as individual as people, according to new research by Professor Peter Young and his team in the Department of Biology at the University of York. Bacteria are essential to health, agriculture and the environment, ...

Recommended for you

GMO mosquito plan sparks outcry in Florida

20 hours ago

A British company's plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue fever and other diseases has sparked an outcry from fearful residents.

Population genomics unveil seahorse domain

Jan 30, 2015

In a finding vital to effective species management, a team including City College of New York biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the we ...

IBM and Mars join together to make food safer with genetics

Jan 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—Computer giant IBM, and food giant Mars, have announced a joint project they are calling "Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain." The idea is to use modern microbiology, computer crunching ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fixer
not rated yet Feb 06, 2009
Buteric acid does this too.
How about making them available to the people who need them!
snwboardn
not rated yet Feb 07, 2009
CLA's killing cancer cells is old news, by like 30 years. http://en.wikiped...eic_acid

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.