This review covers the relationship between microbes and humans and their importance to human health. Fermentation is the key message here and it involves everything from carbohydrates through to proteins, phytochemicals and beyond. In particular, the 'gut-liver' axis is highlighted. This review was published in Current Opinion in Microbiology.

Full Title

Colonic bacterial metabolites and human health


The influence of the microbial–mammalian metabolic axis is becoming increasingly important for human health. Bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates (CHOs) and proteins produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and a range of other metabolites including those from aromatic amino acid (AAA) fermentation. SCFA influence host health as energy sources and via multiple signalling mechanisms. Bacterial transformation of fibre-related phytochemicals is associated with a reduced incidence of several chronic diseases. The ‘gut–liver axis’ is an emerging area of study. Microbial deconjugation of xenobiotics and release of aromatic moieties into the colon can have a wide range of physiological consequences. In addition, the role of the gut microbiota in choline deficiency in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and insulin resistance is receiving increased attention.


Russell WR1, Hoyles L, Flint HJ, Dumas ME.

Journal and Citation

Current Opinion in Microbiology 16(3): 246-254 (20th July 2013)

Published online 20th July 2013

DOI: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.07.002


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