Impact of Almond Consumption on the Composition of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Healthy Adult Men and Women

Clinical Research Poster



Impact of Almond Consumption on the Composition of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Healthy Adult Men and Women

Author/Presenter: Andrew M. Taylor
Co-Author(s): Kelly S. Swanson, Janet A. Novoty, David J. Baer, Hannah D. Holscher

Purpose: We aimed to assess the interrelationship of almond consumption and processing on the gastrointestinal microbiota in healthy adult men and women.

Methods: A controlled-feeding, randomized, crossover design study consisting of five 3-week treatment periods with washouts between treatment periods was conducted in healthy adult men and women (n=18). The 5 treatments were: 1) 0 servings/day of almonds, 2) 1.5 servings (42 g)/day of whole almonds, 3) 1.5 servings/day of whole roasted almonds, 4) 1.5 servings/day of diced almonds, and 5) 1.5 servings/day of almond butter. Urine, fecal, and blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of each period for metabolic, immunologic, and microbial analyses. Following fecal DNA isolation, we generated barcoded amplicon pools of archaeal, bacterial, and fungal sequences. High-throughput sequencing was conducted on a MiSeq. Sequence data were analyzed using QIIME 1.8.0 and SAS 9.4.

Results: Principal coordinates analysis of UniFrac distances between samples based on their 97% OTU composition and abundances indicated that bacterial communities were impacted (p=0.05) by treatment. Furthermore, the composition of the microbiota of participants consuming whole almonds was different (p=0.01) than when participants did not consume whole almonds. At the phyla level, almond consumption decreased the relative abundance of Actinobacteria compared to control by 1.6% (p=0.03). Shifts in bacterial genera following almond consumption included a decrease in the relative abundances of Bifidobacterium (p=0.03) and Parabacteroides (p=0.02), and increases in the relative abundances of Lachnospira (p=0.01) and Roseburia (p=0.03). Diced almonds increased the relative abundances of Oscillospira (p=0.02), Roseburia (p=0.02), and Lachnospira (p=0.04).

Conclusions: Our data reveal that almond consumption induced changes in the microbial community composition of the human gastrointestinal microbiota. Furthermore, the degree of almond processing differentially impacted bacterial genera with diced almonds having the largest effect compared to control. Additional study is ongoing to determine if connections exist between the changes in microbial taxa and metabolic improvements.

Author/Presenter Bio:  Andrew Taylor is a research assistant in the Nutrition and Human Microbiome laboratory. He has worked as a research assistant in the Nutrition and Human Microbiome laboratory for nearly 2 years. His research has utilized big data, along with high throughput next generation sequencing and bioinformatics to help elucidate the complex role bacteria in the human gastrointestinal tract play in the health of their host. In the Spring of 2016, he was selected to take part in the “Emerging Leaders Poster Competition,” awarded to the top 20% of applicants, at Experimental Biology 2016. In the Fall of 2015, he was awarded an undergraduate research scholarship to aid in the funding of his research project. He is expected to receive his Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition in May of 2016, with plans of obtaining a Masters of Science in the field of Human Nutrition. Andrew’s research focuses on the interrelationship of diet, human health and the human gastrointestinal microbiome.

CME Credit

Physician attendees will receive 0.75 CME credits.

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