Identification and Characterization of Bioactive Microbial Metabolites-for Advancing Research on Microbe-Diet-Host Interactions

September 2020 Council

Lead Division/Office


Point(s) of Contact

Padma Maruvada, Ph.D.

Executive Summary

Trillions of microorganisms colonize the human gut and are collectively regarded as an exo-organ, playing a vital role in host health and disease. While increasing evidence indicates that microorganisms either directly or indirectly impact host physiology, including dietary metabolism, the mechanisms that connect microbial metabolism to host physiology are poorly understood. There are well known mechanisms for microbe-microbe interactions (i.e. quorum-sensing, nutritional immunity etc.) that allow microbial communities to communicate and converge on similar metabolic pathway in order to bring about collective metabolic influence. However, the molecular basis and nature of these interactions and mediators of these inter-community communications are not entirely known. A better understanding of the dietary sources of these metabolites, the microbial metabolic pathways and players along with their mechanisms of action and translational relevance will pave the way for a better understanding of the interrelationships between diet, microbial metabolism and host physiology. It will also reveal opportunities for therapeutic interventions via Precision Medicine and Precision Nutrition strategies. This initiative will focus on the identification and characterization of microbial metabolites and their translational relevance to human health and support the creation of a database that will serve as a community resource for stimulating further research.