The gut microbiome is an expanding field of nutrition as the microbial composition of the gut is influenced by diet and the microbiota in turn produces compounds known to affect human health. The genetic makeup of the gut microbiota governs the ability of microbes to metabolize diet-derived compounds within the gut that can affect host metabolism and health. Thus, the overarching goal of our lab is to understand the relationship between diet, the gut microbiome, the metabolites it produces, and the potential for these metabolites to influence inflammation, oxidation, and overall metabolism of the human host.
The Soils to Society project is evaluating varieties and growing conditions that may affect the nutritional composition of quinoa. Quinoa is a staple crop in South America which may provide a viable product for food producers in the United States. We will be comparing different cultivars of quinoa, altering the growing conditions of varieties of quinoa, and preparation methods in the changes that take place within the microbiome.
We will be utilizing an in vitro model to study this relationship that mimics the anaerobic environment of the human digestive system. In order to do this, we will utilize human fecal samples combined with different food products to determine the differential effects of these foods on the genetic makeup of the microbes of human feces and on the compounds these microbes metabolize. These combinations are slurried together and introduced into the anaerobic chamber.
Our lab is recruiting 24 volunteers to provide human stool samples for this purpose. Participants must be 18-50 years old, BMI of at least 20 kg/m2, and in good metabolic and digestive health and not to have consumed quinoa in the previous 7 days. We are only asking for a stool sample from a normal bowel movement during your normal diet. The compensation for providing a viable stool sample is a $40 gift card to Safeway, Walmart, Yoke’s Fresh Market, Fred Meyer, or Rosauers Supermarkets. Certain diseases and conditions may disqualify you from participation including pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, a history of certain cancers, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), celiac and non-celiac gluten intolerance or if you have had bariatric surgery, suspected or known strictures, fistulas or physiological/mechanical GI obstruction, use nicotine containing products in the previous 6 months, or if you have taken antibiotics in the previous 90 days. If you are interested in participating, please complete this application to determine your initial eligibility. If you pre-qualify, we will contact you to schedule an information meeting to determine your final eligibility. As a volunteer, even after agreeing to participate, you can discontinue the study at any time.