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Friends in low places

Friends in low places. Thinkstock

The team

From the University of Reading and the University of Oxford:

  • Professor Parveen Yaqoob
  • Professor Glenn Gibson
  • Professor Bob Rastall
  • Dr Dimitris Charalampopoulous
  • Dr Kirsty Smith
  • Dr Ben Littlefield
  • Professor Fiona Powrie
  • Dr Carolina Arancibia
  • Dr Claire Pearson

The science behind the exhibit

Trillions of bacteria live in our guts in an adaptable community that responds to dietary and environmental influences. Live bacteria are also present in many fermented foods and probiotic products and, if they survive the acidity of the stomach, can act as friends to our resident bacteria. ‘Good’ bacteria in the gut inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, help with digestion and absorption of nutrients and interact with our immune system. It is vital to understand this because impaired interaction can result in wide-ranging health implications.

About the exhibit

Join us on a journey of a probiotic through the gut:

  • Look at ‘good’ bacteria in fermented foods and probiotics under the microscope
  • Encapsulate probiotic bacteria to enable them to survive the acidity of the stomach
  • Walk through a human colon complete with bacterial communities responding to the food in your diet
  • Explore our interactive map demonstrating communication between gut bacteria and the immune system


These images are protected by copyright law and may be used with acknowledgement.

Nature's factories

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