CarboBiotics: improving resilience after exposure to antibiotics

Antibiotics are efficient against infectious diseases. However, they can also have detrimental effects on the gut microbiota and its resilience, depending on the type of antibiotics as well as the individual microbiota composition. This project will study mechanisms underlying the individual-specific level of resilience after antibiotics exposure and whether fast recovery can be induced by specific non-digestible carbohydrates.


Although antibiotics have drastically reduced infection-associated morbidity and mortality, their use is also associated with unintended impact on the intestinal microbes, which may have serious health consequences. An impaired microbiota resilience not only has an effect on our metabolic health but also increase the risk for recurrent infections by opportunistic pathogens, for example, Clostridium difficile. Therefore, a fast recovery of the intestinal microbiota, which means a strong resilience, is crucial for our health.


Several studies have shown that antibiotics can induce large shifts in microbiota composition, evidencing that the extent and degree of microbial perturbations depend on the type of antibiotics, as well as on individual microbiota profile and dietary intake, among other factors. Additionally, the time it takes for the microbiota to recover can vary drastically between subjects and can last for years. The mechanisms underlying these inter-individual variations in antibiotic-induced microbial perturbations and whether fast recovery of the microbiota can be induced by stimulation of specific microbial groups via non-digestible carbohydrates are largely unknown.



The purpose of our research is to identify the subject-specific impact of two types of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiota and its subsequent resilience level, and to study whether administration of several different non-digestible carbohydrates can improve resilience and metabolic health in subjects with slow microbiota recovery.

CarboBiotics Programme

This project is part of the NWO-CCC Partnership Programme “CarboBiotics: Pre/Probiotics mitigating the Antibiotics burden”.