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The human intestinal microbiota, diet and health
From infancy to old age

DR SIOBHÁN CUSACK1*, DR PAUL W. O’TOOLE2
*Corresponding author
1. University College Cork, Department of Microbiology, Cork, Ireland
2. University College Cork, Department of Microbiology and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre Rm. 447, Food Science Building, Cork, Ireland

Abstract

The composition of the dynamic infant microbiota is shaped by environmental factors that establish the basis ofthe microbiota of later life. They influence the composition of the stable adult microbiota and, later, the potential of theolder microbiota to support health. Examining the role of the microbiota in maintaining and promoting health throughoutlife has been revolutionised by the relatively recent development of culture-independent methods for determining microbiota composition. Defining the composition of the human gut microbiota – from infancy to old age, provides thepotential for its manipulation in the promotion and maintenance of health.