Process & Systems Modelling

Emergent behaviour modelling of human gut bacterial communities

The growth of bacteria during the fermentation of food in the human gut plays an important role in human health -- for example, bacteria may produce metabolites which help prevent colonic cancer. At any given time each person has their own unique gut bacterial community consisting of several hundred different strains of bacteria. A numerical model of the human gut containing 200 randomly generated strains of bacteria that grow at differing rates on a selection of dietary substrates allows many possible bacterial communities to 'emerge'. Preliminary results indicate that the average properties of these emergent communities compare well with those of the human population, suggesting that the model may be used to estimate changes in gut bacterial communities in response to changes in diet.

Modelled time
evolutionModelled time evolution of the concentrations of bacterial functional groups (top) dietary substrates (middle) and metabolites (bottom) over 1 day (averaged over 100 model realisations).

Further details from: Helen Kettle

Article date 2009


Statistical Genomics and Bioinformatics

Process and Systems Modelling

Statistical Methodology

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