Dietary prophage inducers and antimicrobials: toward landscaping the human gut microbiome

Gut Microbes. 2020 Jul 3;11(4):721-734. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2019.1701353. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


The approximately 1011 viruses and microbial cells per gram of fecal matter (dry weight) in the large intestine are important to human health. The responses of three common gut bacteria species, and one opportunistic pathogen, to 117 commonly consumed foods, chemical additives, and plant extracts were tested. Many compounds, including Stevia rebaudiana and bee propolis extracts, exhibited species-specific growth inhibition by prophage induction. Overall, these results show that various foods may change the abundances of gut bacteria by modulating temperate phage and suggests a novel path for landscaping the human gut microbiome.

Keywords: Bacteriophage; antimicrobials; bactericidal; bacteroidetes; diet; firmicutes; flow cytometry; gut microbiome; prophage induction; stevia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Diet
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Food Additives / pharmacology
  • Food*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Metagenome
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Virus Activation*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Food Additives
  • Plant Extracts