Human gut metatranscriptome changes induced by a fermented milk product are associated with improved tolerance to a flatulogenic diet

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2022 Apr 5;20:1632-1641. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2022.04.001. eCollection 2022.


Healthy plant-based diets rich in fermentable residues may induce gas-related symptoms, possibly mediated by the gut microbiota. We previously showed that consumption of a fermented milk product (FMP) containing Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CNCM I-2494 and lactic acid bacteria improved gastrointestinal (GI) comfort in response to a flatulogenic dietary challenge in healthy individuals. To study the effects of the FMP on gut microbiota activity from those participants, we conducted a metatranscriptomic analysis of fecal samples (n = 262), which were collected during the ingestion of a habitual diet and two series of a 3-day high-residue challenge diet, before and following 28-days of FMP consumption. Most of the FMP species were detected or found enriched upon consumption of the product. FMP mitigated the effect of a flatulogenic diet on gas-related symptoms in several ways. First, FMP consumption was associated with the depletion of gas-producing bacteria and increased hydrogen to methane conversion. It also led to the upregulation of activities such as replication and downregulation of functions related to motility and chemotaxis. Furthermore, upon FMP intake, metabolic activities such as carbohydrate metabolism, attributed to B. animalis and S. thermophilus, were enriched; these activities were coincidentally found to be negatively associated with several GI symptoms. Finally, a more connected microbial ecosystem or mutualistic relationship among microbes was found in responders to the FMP intervention. Taken together, these findings suggest that consumption of the FMP improved the tolerance of a flatulogenic diet through active interactions with the resident gut microbiota.

Keywords: Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CNCM I-2494/DN-173010; Fermented milk product; Gut microbiota; Gut symptoms; Intestinal gas; Metatranscriptomics.