Ten volunteers who agreed to eat a diet entirely provided by microbiologist Harvard Peter Turnbaugh and his colleagues are living proof of the gut microbiome’s lability. After five days, those that ate only animal products had a similar suite of bacteria in their guts, which varied dramatically from the microbiome of those feasting on a high-fiber, plant-only diet. Specifically, while the types of bacteria present remained largely unchanged, the abundances of different types responded to the dietary restrictions, according to a study published this week in Nature.
“It’s a landmark study,” Rob Knight, a microbial ecologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who was not involved with the work, told ScienceNOW. “It changes our view of how rapidly the microbiome can change.”
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