UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


UCARE Research Products

Date of this Version

Spring 4-30-2020

Document Type



Poster presentation, UCARE Research Fair, Spring 2020, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


It is now well established that the composition of the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota has a profound influence on intestinal and overall health. Many contemporary diseases such as type two diabetes, IBS and obesity are associated with a dysbiotic microbiota. Therefore, researchers are interested in how diet and specific dietary components can modulate the gastrointestinal microbiota and possibly repair a dysbiotic state. One approach to improve gastrointestinal health is by consuming probiotics and prebiotics or a diet rich in fermented foods containing live microbes. Fermented foods are popular because of their enhanced preservation, safety, organoleptic, functionality, and nutritional properties. These fermented foods can also contain live microorganisms that may play a role in improving gastrointestinal health. One of the challenges, however, is that the GI environment is very stable and resistant to change. This is mainly due to barriers along the GI tract (pH, bile, enzymes). Persistence of allochthonous microorganisms within the GI tract is also limited by host response such as absence of ecological niches and colonization resistance. In addition, the microbiota composition varies in every individual, making it difficult to formulate a single therapeutic solution. It may be possible to overcome these barriers and regulate a dysbiotic system through a diet rich in fermented foods and supplemented with prebiotics.