Metabolism of Nutrients by Gut Microbiota is a timely collection on the state of knowledge and recent advancements in microbiota research related to human nutrition, metabolism, and health. This book was motivated by a desire to produce a comprehensive summary of nutritionally related microbial–host interactions in a single volume. Our overarching goal was to cover the key topical areas relevant for career researchers, academic students, industry professionals, and the lay public alike to gain deeper insights into mechanisms and recent advances in the field of microbiome and metabolism.
Over the past two decades, microbiome research has expanded exponentially, shifting from early characterization and description of microbial communities towards more recent emphasis on understanding causality, function, and identification of microbially modified metabolites that hold the key to deciphering host–microbial interaction. Metabolism of Nutrients by Gut Microbiota focuses first on dietary macronutrient intake, which is a dominant driver of human microbiota membership and function that has profound effects on health. In addition to macronutrient influences, we wanted to capture other key elements of how the microbiome is shaped and involved in health that would be either directly relevant to, or of great interest to, many of our readers. We choose to include the role of dietary prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics, pharmaceutical drug–microbial interactions, early life variables that affect microbiome assemblage following birth, and, finally, the mechanisms and effects of bariatric surgery in the treatment of obesity. Collectively, each of these microbiome altering factors have unique effects on health – in-part through microbial interaction – with implications on body composition and metabolic setpoints, immune programming and response, drug metabolism and efficacy, and lifelong chronic and acute disease risk.
Metabolism of Nutrients by Gut Microbiota was made possible from the exceptional contributions of twenty-two authors at nine universities who summarized their fields of research with impressive clarity and acumen. Our authors were challenged with summarizing complex findings in rapidly evolving fields of study and highlighting the key mechanistic roles that the microbiome plays in nutrition and metabolism. I would like to personally thank and acknowledge each of our contributing authors for sharing their unique expertise and their time. The result is an outstanding collection that contributes to the impressive book series on Food Chemistry, Function, and Analysis by the Royal Society of Chemistry and author experts from around the globe. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading this text as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
Joseph F. Pierre