During the past decade we have identified the gut microbiota (which encodes 1,000-fold more genes than our own genome, the so-called metagenome) as an environmental factor that contributes to obesity and insulin resistance and thus has potential importance as a therapeutic target. The gut microbiota interacts with our diet and thus different microbiota may affect metabolism of macronutrients differently. Similarly, it is unknown whether individual variations in the microbial ecology can determine whether a person will respond to a given dietary treatment.
In this project we aim to investigate whether the gut microbiota can predict who will respond to beneficially to barley kernels, which are known to produce improved glucose metabolism. In addition, we aim to uncover the underlying mechanisms and investigate whether we can develop treatments (probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics) based on our findings.
Project leader: Professor Fredrik Bäckhed, Wallenberglab, University of Gothenburg