Studies in Microbiota and Microbiomics

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Measurement of the impact of small molecules and food components on the growth of individual strains or communities within the gut microbiota

Service/Expertise Overview 

The gut microbiota is a complex community of microorganisms, mainly bacteria, which play a vital role in our well-being. The composition and function of the gut microbiota are significantly affected by the substances we consume, such as nutrients, food additives, drugs, and pollutants, as they pass through our digestive system. As a result, these interactions can directly or indirectly impact our health.

To promote gut microbiota health and advance future therapeutic and nutritional developments, it is crucial to understand these interactions. Our expertise allows us to evaluate the effects of various small molecules and food components on the gut microbiota, whether at the individual strain or community level, using high-throughput methods. By comprehending these interactions, we can identify safe interventions that maintain gut microbiota balance and use their bioactive capacities to generate postbiotic products with positive health outcomes.

We have an anaerobic microbiomics set-up that includes a stacker connected to a plate reader, enabling high-throughput experimentation. In addition, we have a diverse collection of representative members of the gut microbiota, as well as a growing collection of donated human microbiota samples from healthy individuals.

Overall, this setup enables us to measure the impact of small molecules and food components on the growth of individual strains or communities within the gut microbiota. In addition, we can easily couple this information to omics readouts, such as metagenomics and metabolomics.

Competitive advantages

There are other ways to conduct microbiomics studies besides this in vitro system. These include using animal models or conducting direct testing in human clinical trials. However, the critical advantage of this methodology is faster and more cost-effective testing, which can ultimately contribute to quicker therapeutic advancements.


Testing of the interactions of the gut microbiota with:

  • Pre-/pro-/post- biotics
  • Nutritional compounds and food additives
  • Drugs
  • Pesticides/pollutants

Identification of changes to gut microbiota composition, increased or decreased production of metabolites of interest (e.g., short chain fatty acids), identification of novel bioactive compounds generated by the interaction of tested compounds with the gut microbiota

Research unit

ITQB NOVA – MostMicro


Integração de Doutorados nas Empresas — ITQB