Context: A study by IIT Madras researchers of 36 strains of gut bacteria commonly found in the gut reveals their metabolism and could bring added rigour into the development of probiotics. 

More about the study:

  • The group also identified critical enzymes essential for the metabolism of some strains. 
  • Technique used: constraint-based modelling of the system. This is like a model of cellular trafficking of molecules.
    • It amounts to estimating which are the reactions that lead to production of various molecules and under what different conditions. 
  • The study underlines the power of analysing metabolic capabilities to define the properties of the human gut microbiota and also can be leveraged for commercial purposes to produce probiotics.


  • Our body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep our gut healthy.
  • Probiotics are cocktails of helpful bacteria which, among other uses, are prescribed to alleviate digestive imbalances.
  • The human gut microbiome has a huge number of beneficial bacteria, collectively called commensals, living in it. 
  • Key among these are the bacteria of the Bifidobacterium genus. Bifidobacterium adolescentis and B. longum are found in the adult human gut whereas B. bifidum are found in the infant gut. 
  • More than 80 species of Bifidobacterium are found in the human gut of which 36 strains comprising 20 species have been studied by the researchers through metabolic network modelling. 
  • Bifidobacterium is one of the largest genera among gut bacteria and its species are known to be early colonisers of the breastfed infant gut.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/iit-madras-study-reveals-metabolism-of-key-gut-microbiota/article31821977.ece#:~:text=A study by IIT Madras,prescribed to alleviate digestive imbalances.

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