Did you know that the mucus we secrete is rich in protein and sugar structures and that it is used by our microbiota as a source of food?
The human intestine is protected from contact with gut microbes by a mucus layer. This mucus layer consists of complex sugar molecules. Some of the resident gut microbes can use parts of these sugar molecules as their source of energy.
The mucus sugar molecules are too large and structurally complex to be degraded by one microbe alone. Therefore, a network of microbes collaborates to break down the sugars.
Degradation of the mucus sugars by this network of microbes is also beneficial for the human, as sugar degradation leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids. These compounds are taken up in the intestine and benefit human health.
In this project, we explore the networks of microbes that break down the complex sugars in our gut.
Thesis projects are available for BSc or MSc students with interest in microbial cultivation, microbial ecology and bioinformatics. Please contact me via the contact form.