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Comprehensive Natural Products
Volume 7, 2020, Pages 519-528

7.26 - Gut Microbe Transformation of Natural Products: Plant Polysaccharides Are Metabolized by Animal Symbionts

Jun Kikuchi, Shunji Yamada

RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Yokohama, Japan Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.


Conceptually, natural ecosystems can be conceived as interconnected environmental and metabolic systems in plants animals and microbes. Humans and their activities both affect and are a part of these ecosystems. In considering the effects of human activities within ecosystems, it is important to gain an understanding of natural ecology and its metabolic processes in various environments, including animal gut ecosystems. From this perspective, the production of land plant and algal biomass, namely polysaccharides, is at the forefront of current research. Here we describe the challenges of solution/solid-state NMR analyses for profiling the molecular complexity of biomass polysaccharides. The first challenge is analysis of the macromolecular complexity, including structure and composition, of polysaccharides in biomass. The second challenge is analysis of the complexity of the biomass-degrading microbial communities, specifically their metabolic activity. The third challenge is the integration of molecular and microbial complexity via a heterogeneous analytical approach including data science computations. Overcoming these challenges provides a foundation for evaluating the systemic effects of input polysaccharides on output digested/catabolized metabolites by various gut microbiota, including mammalian, insect, and fish symbionts.

Keywords:Data science; Metabolic homeostasis; Microbial ecology; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Plant biomass; Short-chain fatty acid.

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