Commercial applications of pioneering research on the human gut microbiota

Impact: Economic and/or Commercial, Health and Wellbeing

Description of impact

Our work in isolating and establishing the function of important gut anaerobes has led to many approached from companies involved in microbiome or probiotic research

Project summary and aims

In recent years, it has become clear that microbes colonising the human body (i.e. “the human microbiome”) play key roles in maintaining host health. Conversely, aberrant microbiome composition and activities are linked to a range of different diseases. As such, there is now significant clinical, commercial and societal interest in finding new strategies to alter the microbiome in order to benefit host health. Primary objectives are to develop novel efficacious probiotics, as well as dietary supplements such as prebiotics, which promote the growth of beneficial microbes.
The Microbiology Group at The Rowett Institute (MGRI), University of Aberdeen has been isolating and studying anaerobic microbes from the human gut microbiome for over 20 years, and has acquired a global reputation for its expertise in this area. MGRI has built up extensive biobanks of human gut bacterial isolates, and has also identified dietary components that can stimulate the growth of certain species that may be beneficial for health. MGRI has also identified gut bacterial species that are capable of converting deleterious compounds such as lactate into beneficial ones like butyrate.
This knowledge and expertise in anaerobic gut bacteriology, and the managed biobank of well-characterised bacterial strains, has generated widespread interest from a range of multinational and start-up companies, each of whom seek to build upon existing knowledge within MGRI in order to develop novel products. In each case, translation was initiated by the companies involved, who approached MGRI based upon their interest in our published scientific outputs.

Who is affected by, or benefits from, the research?

public and commercial companies
Impact statusIn preparation (impact identified)
Category of impactEconomic and/or Commercial, Health and Wellbeing


  • microbiome
  • anaerobic bacteria
  • probiotic
  • Rowett Institute