Impact of iron on the composition and function of the human gut microbiome

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Faculty of Health Research Office

Abstract

Iron supplements and iron-fortified foods are widely consumed in the UK but only a relatively small quantity of the total iron is absorbed in the duodenum; the majority passes into the colon where it provides iron for growth of bacteria. An increase in the availability of iron in the intestine increases the growth and virulence of many pathogens, and the lactic acid bacteria, which do not have an iron requirement for their growth, are rapidly out-competed. A recent study showed that dietary iron depletion in a murine model of intestinal inflammation was associated with a marked alteration in the intestinal microbiome, and dietary iron fortification led to a predominance of Enterobacteria over Lactobacilli. Substances that bind iron in the large intestine may therefore be beneficial. Other dietary constituents that may have positive health effects when delivered intact to the large intestine include prebiotics and calcium, reported to be protective against colorectal polyps and colon cancer when in the form of calcium carbonate. Therefore a system that deliver iron-binding materials and other substances that may have a positive impact on the colonic environment to the large intestine could have many uses and health benefits. We will test the hypothesis that iron-binding compounds in the large intestine, such as alginate, facilitate the growth of lactobacilli and other bacteria associated with gut health whilst reducing the levels of potential pathogens. The aim of the research of most interest to the industrial partner is to evaluate the effectiveness of a colonic delivery system by subjecting the material to a simulated gastrointestinal digestion and measuring the degree of protection the delivery system confers to the bioactive material.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M015122/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019
1647920 Studentship BB/M015122/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Bhavika Parmanand
 
Description The addition of chemical iron chelators to human faecal microbiomes significantly alters the abundance of bacteria that have the potential to have pathogenic phenotypes.
Exploitation Route too early to say
Sectors Healthcare

URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286318306065
 
Description Collaboration with Oxford University 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Translational Gastroenterology Unit (TDU)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration set up with the Translational Gastroenterology Unit at University of Oxford. Faecal samples from hereditary haemachromatosis patients were sent to the QIB, where DNA was then extracted from all samples and faecal water prepared. These were then sent off for metagenomic sequencing and metabolomic quantification analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Samples were sent from the collaborators, and other techniques, such as qPCR was performed by them on the DNA we extracted. A publication of the results is in process.
Impact Publication of results in progress.
Start Year 2016
 
Description UCL School of Pharmacy Internship 
Organisation Intract Pharma Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution 4 month internship at Intract Pharma, under the iCASE studentship. Production of capsules were carried out here, which were later used in the clinical trial (NCT03917693)
Collaborator Contribution Provision of lab facilities and capsule ingredients. Formulation of capsule coating provided by Intract Pharma
Impact Clinical trial - NCT03917693 titled A human trial investigating the effects of phytin on the human gut micorbiota
Start Year 2015
 
Description Coffee break science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This is an informal session that takes place at the QIB bi-weekly. It involves an 8 minute presentation where you speak to the institute about your research project and the science behind it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an international conference - The European Iron Club, which took place in Zurich, Switzerland. The aim of this conference was to learn about the progressions in the field of iron and also participate in the masterclass provided by experts in the field. It was also an opportunity for scientists, clinicians and students (ranging from undergraduates to Ph.D level) to communicate their research on iron in the context of their field. This was extremely helpful as many participants learnt about iron in the context of other fields other than their own and were able to exchange ideas on what to consider when continuing on with their research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.ironclub2018.ethz.ch/
 
Description Faculty of Medicine and Health Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This is an event that takes place yearly over at the UEA. It involves people from various backgrounds and disciplines communicating their science to the audience. I gave a 10 minute presentation relaying my PhD work to the audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Knowledge exchange trip, Germany and Dublin 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was a knowledge exchange trip that took place in Germany, and was organised by the student forum at the QIB. We traveled to the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Berlin (2017) and University College Dublin/Trinity College (2016) and communicated our research to the group via 10 minute oral presentations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Microbes in Norwich 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Students from all NBI institutes were encouraged to prepare a poster for this event, where students from all stages of their academic career came along to hear about the research we are carrying out in our projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Poster Presentation at Microbiology Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact My poster was focused on presenting research on how patients with haemachromatosis are affected by venesection in terms of their gut mcirobial profile.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://microbiologysociety.org/event/annual-conference/annual-conference-2018.html
 
Description Presentation for Visiting Students 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The purpose of this talk was to communicate my research with students from the Netherlands, who studied topics in similar fields. roughly 30 Ph.D students attended, all of whom studied the gut microbiome in different contexts. My own research was communicated to the group and ideas were relayed between the audience and i on what to consider when doing future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Student showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an event organised for the students to showcase their research in front of the institute. We did this in 2 ways - the first was a 30 second pitch to encourgae people to go and take a look at the posters (2nd way) we made displaying our research. I won 3rd place for both the pitch and poster.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017