55 research outputs found

    Rumen ecology research planning. Proceedings of a workshop

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    This workshop was conducted to identify and prioritise areas of rumen ecology which are promising for their potential impact on improving nutrition status of tropical ruminants, to develop a rumen ecology research programme for ILRI based on relevance to developing countries and ILRI's comparative advantage vis-a-vis other institutions, to identify potential collaborators in advanced research institutes, and to define model(s) of collaboration. Major topics of discussion include - potential application of rumen ecology manipulation to animal nutrition in developing countries, state of art in manipulation of the rumen microbial ecosystem, and state of art in bioengineering of rumen microorganisms

    Global patterns of marine bacterioplankton diversity and characterisation of bioactive Vibrionaceae isolates

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    Exploring and exploiting plant biomass degradation by Bacteroidetes

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    Bacteroidetes bacteria have evolved to become excellent biomass degraders. They achieved this by applying carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) and organizing genes connected to the degradation of specific polysaccharides into discrete gene cassettes, so-called polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs). Consequently, CAZymes and PULs may hold the potential to improve biomass valorization processes in biorefineries and to advance our understanding of human and livestock gut health.CAZymes are extremely diverse in activity and structure, and for some enzyme families only little is known to date. For example, certain carbohydrate esterases (CEs) combine multiple catalytic domains within one protein, resulting in multicatalytic enzyme architectures, and the properties of these have been little explored. In this thesis, I present biochemical data showcasing the existence of intramolecular synergy between the active domains of multicatalytic CEs (BoCE6-CE1). The observed intramolecular synergy facilitated more efficient degradation of xylan-rich biomass compared to non-multicatalytic CEs, giving a possible explanation as to why multicatalytic CEs exist in the genomes of Bacteroidetes species. Well-defined activity profiles of several here characterized CEs support the hypothesis that each catalytic domain fulfills an individual role during concerted plant biomass degradation, explaining why some PULs encode multiple CEs from the same enzyme family. Further, the investigated CEs cleaved xylan decorations and increased the activity of xylanase-mediated biomass degradation up to 20-fold (FjCE6-CE1). During the investigation of the CAZyme repertoire of different species I also identified a remarkably active and promiscuously acting acetyl xylan esterase (DmCE6A), as well as a rare enzyme architecture that may offer new insights into the multitude of interacting enzyme activities necessary to degrade plant biomass (BeCE15A-Rex8A).PULs encode a plethora of CAZymes and have been shown to be vital for the glycan degradation abilities of Bacteroidetes species. However, the investigation of PULs is aggravated by their usually large size, which often limits the scope of genetic studies. In this thesis, I present a new method for the transfer of PULs between Bacteroidetes species, thus expanding the tools available for the identification and characterization of PULs and their components. The PUL transfer was demonstrated for a previously characterized mixed-linkage β-glucan utilization locus and conferred the ability to metabolize mixed-linkage β-glucan to the receptor strain

    Prebiotics and Probiotics

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    Currently, new health benefits of probiotics have been identified, and new strains with probiotic potential have been discovered and continue to be investigated. Likewise, prebiotics and their interaction with the microbiota have been the focus of research in human and animal health, as well as to counteract zoonotic pathogenic microorganisms. Probiotics and prebiotics can be found in food and are isolated or synthesized to be supplemented as functional ingredients for the benefit of humans or animals. The volume contains thirteen chapters that explain the mechanisms of probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics from their interaction with the intestinal microbiota as antimicrobials and immunomodulators and their effect on human and animal health

    Bacterial Communities Associated with Human Decomposition

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    Human decomposition is a little-understood process with even less currently known about the microbiology involved. The aim of this research was to investigate the bacterial community associated with exposed decomposing mammalian carcasses on soil and to determine whether changes in this community could potentially be used to determine time since death in forensic investigations. A variety of soil chemistry and molecular biology methods, including molecular profiling tools T-RFLP and DGGE were used to explore how and when bacterial communities change during the course of a decomposition event. General bacterial populations and more specific bacterial groups were examined. Decomposition was shown to cause significant and sequential changes in the bacterial communities within the soil, and changes in the bacterial community often correlated with visual changes in the stage of decomposition. Organisms derived from the cadavers and carcasses were able to be detected, using molecular methods, in the underlying soil throughout the decomposition period studied. There was little correlation found between decomposition stage and the presence and diversity within the specific bacterial groups investigated. Organisms contributing to the changes seen in the bacterial communities using molecular profiling methods were identified using a cloning and sequencing based technique and included soil and environment-derived bacteria, as well as carcass or cadaver-derived organisms. This research demonstrated that pig (Sus scrofa) carcass and human cadaver decomposition result in similar bacterial community changes in soil, confirming that pig carcasses are a good model for studying the microbiology of human decomposition. The inability to control for differences between donated human cadavers made understanding the human cadaver results difficult, whereas pig carcass study allowed many variables to be held constant while others were investigated. The information gained from this study about the bacteria associated with a cadaver and how the community alters over the course of decomposition may, in the future, enable the development of a forensic post mortem interval estimation tool based on these changes in the bacterial community over time. The findings in this thesis suggest that high variability between human bodies and their microflora is likely to present a challenge to the development of such a tool, but further study with emerging high-throughput molecular tools may enable identification of microbial biomarkers for this purpose

    Opportunities and hurdles of edible insects for food and feed

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    Entomophagy, the consumption of insects, is promoted as an alternative sustainable source of protein for humans and animals. Seminal literature highlights predominantly the benefits, but with limited empirical support and evaluation. We highlight the historical significance of entomophagy by humans and key opportunities and hurdles identified by research to date, paying particular attention to research gaps. It is known that insects present a nutritional opportunity, being generally high in protein and key micronutrients, but it is unclear how their nutritional quality is influenced by what they are fed. Research indicates that, in ideal conditions, insects have a smaller environmental impact than more traditional Western forms of animal protein; less known is how to scale up insect production while maintaining these environmental benefits. Studies overall show that insects could make valuable economic and nutritional contributions to the food or feed systems, but there are no clear regulations in place to bring insects into such supply systems. Future research needs to examine how the nutritional value of insects can be managed systematically, establish clear processing and storage methodology, define rearing practices and implement regulations with regard to food and feed safety. Each of these aspects should be considered within the specifics of concrete supply and value chains, depending on whether insects are intended for food or for feed, to ensure insects are a sound economic, nutritional and sustainable protein alternative – not just a more expensive version of poultry for food, or soya for feed

    The gut microbiota of marine fish

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    The body of work relating to the gut microbiota of fish is dwarfed by that on humans and mammals. However, it is a field that has had historical interest and has grown significantly along with the expansion of the aquaculture industry and developments in microbiome research. Research is now moving quickly in this field. Much recent focus has been on nutritional manipulation and modification of the gut microbiota to meet the needs of fish farming, while trying to maintain host health and welfare. However, the diversity amongst fish means that baseline data from wild fish and a clear understanding of the role that specific gut microbiota play is still lacking. We review here the factors shaping marine fish gut microbiota and highlight gaps in the research
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