Insight into gut bacteria may help understanding of intestinal complaints

Flatulence, constipation and diarrhoea are some of the many intestinal problems that we have to deal with. These can be annoying and the cause is often unclear. BaseClear spin-off MyMicroZoo now intends to change this by mapping the inhabitants of the intestines (the bacteria) so that bacterial population unbalance can be identified and addressed.

Gut microbiome analysis

MyMicroZoo provides a good picture of what is happening in the microscopic zoo that resides in everyone’s body. It tells among other things, which bacteria reside in the intestines and how many there are.

Dr. Jos Seegers of MyMicroZoo explains: “Healthy intestines contain a variety of different bacteria. As with everything here it also applies that too many bacteria of one single group is not good, but too few bacteria of a certain group is not good either. This may lead to intestinal complaints. We want to keep the gut-bacteria balanced, as bacteria in the intestines have a tremendous effect on a person’s health. Which bacteria are there, depends on what a person eats, drinks and how much physical exercise a person undertakes. Furthermore, some bowel symptoms may be reduced or even solved, if the bacteria which cause these intestinal problems can be identified.”

This is where MyMicroZoo comes in to play. With a special kit that can be obtained via it is now possible for everyone to get an insight into their personal intestinal flora or, in other words, the composition and variety of bacteria in a person’s intestines. The kit is suitable for someone who suffers from complaints or who is actively engaged in a healthy lifestyle and wants to monitor their intestinal microbiota over time.

MyMicroZoo outsources the genomic analysis of samples to the specialty lab of BaseClear. They have validated and optimized protocols for the isolation of bacterial DNA from the samples, followed by PCR amplification and sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq of the 16S genes. The generated data is then compared to microbial sequencing databases.

“Results will be provided by MyMicroZoo to the customer in a secure online browser. When the personal intestinal flora composition results are delivered, MyMicroZoo intends to also provide information explaining what the bacterial composition means, what the bacteria do and how it may be influenced, for example, a different lifestyle or diet, “says Jos Seegers. He adds: “We will provide general information with respect to how certain foods can affect the bacteria. This allows someone to make adjustments, along with his doctor or nutritionist, to reduce intestinal complaints and live healthier lives. As such MyMicroZoo provides people with a better understanding of their own body allowing them to work in a unique and positive way to achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

August 2016 by Dr. Jos Seegers (Chief Communication and Community Office MyMicroZoo) and Derek Butler (Director Genomics BaseClear and CEO MyMicroZoo)

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