Research Topic

Food Additives, Cooking and Processing: Impact on the Microbiome

About this Research Topic

Numerous studies have revealed that diet can affect human health and the progression of a variety of diseases, while modulating the composition and function of the gut microbiota in humans; though the cause or consequence relationship is yet to be defined. Crude versus processed foods and habitual diets (e.g., Western diet, vegetarian diet, ketogenic diet) have all been demonstrated to influence host health and disease by affecting the gut microbiota. In addition, dietary ingredients, nutraceuticals, and even food additives can have a substantial impact on the gut microbiota and hence affect human health. Over-generation alterations in dietary and environmental factors, due to urbanization, are believed to play a role in shifting the human microbiome in different populations, and as such, may be linked to the recent rise in chronic non-communicable diseases as well as infectious diseases. Therefore, it is imperative to unravel these elusive links between diet/nutrition, microbiome and host health.

Emerging evidence suggests that food processing, food cooking and food additives can alter the human microbiome. For instance, the effect of raw potatoes on the gut microbiome has been shown to be markedly different from that of cooked ones and a high salt diet has been shown to modulate the gut microbiota and short chain fatty acids production, potentially linking to hypertension. In fact, studies have demonstrated that consumption of commonly used non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) can drive the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. Food additives, such as carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) and polysorbate-80 (P80), have also been shown to induce colitis through altering the gut microbiome. However, considering the tremendously large food industry and countless food cooking/processing approaches utilized, such studies are still lacking. Thus, further efforts need to be devoted to improve our understanding of the extent to which food processing, food cooking and food additives affect the microbiome, in order to elucidate how diet/food components and processing technologies of the modern era may affect long-term health.

This Research Topic encourages exploratory and confirmatory mechanistic studies which unveil how modern food processing and components (i.e., additives) modulate host microbiome and health (both in humans and animals, in vivo and in vitro), and to advance our understanding of the molecular underpinnings. This advancement would largely benefit both the scientific community and general public. We welcome Original Research articles, Case Reports, Hypothesis and Theory and Review articles based on, but not limited to, the following themes:

• How various cooking methods (e.g., boiling, steaming) alter nutrient composition and bioactivity
• How different food processing methods and food additives (e.g., emulsifiers, stabilizers) alter nutrient composition and bioactivity
• Cooking methods and their effect on the gut microbiome and host health
• Food processing and its effect on the gut microbiome and host health
• Comparing how different types of the same food additive (e.g., artificial sweeteners) effect the gut microbiome and host health


Keywords: Gut, Microbiome, Food Processing, Food Additives, Cooking


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Numerous studies have revealed that diet can affect human health and the progression of a variety of diseases, while modulating the composition and function of the gut microbiota in humans; though the cause or consequence relationship is yet to be defined. Crude versus processed foods and habitual diets (e.g., Western diet, vegetarian diet, ketogenic diet) have all been demonstrated to influence host health and disease by affecting the gut microbiota. In addition, dietary ingredients, nutraceuticals, and even food additives can have a substantial impact on the gut microbiota and hence affect human health. Over-generation alterations in dietary and environmental factors, due to urbanization, are believed to play a role in shifting the human microbiome in different populations, and as such, may be linked to the recent rise in chronic non-communicable diseases as well as infectious diseases. Therefore, it is imperative to unravel these elusive links between diet/nutrition, microbiome and host health.

Emerging evidence suggests that food processing, food cooking and food additives can alter the human microbiome. For instance, the effect of raw potatoes on the gut microbiome has been shown to be markedly different from that of cooked ones and a high salt diet has been shown to modulate the gut microbiota and short chain fatty acids production, potentially linking to hypertension. In fact, studies have demonstrated that consumption of commonly used non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) can drive the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. Food additives, such as carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) and polysorbate-80 (P80), have also been shown to induce colitis through altering the gut microbiome. However, considering the tremendously large food industry and countless food cooking/processing approaches utilized, such studies are still lacking. Thus, further efforts need to be devoted to improve our understanding of the extent to which food processing, food cooking and food additives affect the microbiome, in order to elucidate how diet/food components and processing technologies of the modern era may affect long-term health.

This Research Topic encourages exploratory and confirmatory mechanistic studies which unveil how modern food processing and components (i.e., additives) modulate host microbiome and health (both in humans and animals, in vivo and in vitro), and to advance our understanding of the molecular underpinnings. This advancement would largely benefit both the scientific community and general public. We welcome Original Research articles, Case Reports, Hypothesis and Theory and Review articles based on, but not limited to, the following themes:

• How various cooking methods (e.g., boiling, steaming) alter nutrient composition and bioactivity
• How different food processing methods and food additives (e.g., emulsifiers, stabilizers) alter nutrient composition and bioactivity
• Cooking methods and their effect on the gut microbiome and host health
• Food processing and its effect on the gut microbiome and host health
• Comparing how different types of the same food additive (e.g., artificial sweeteners) effect the gut microbiome and host health


Keywords: Gut, Microbiome, Food Processing, Food Additives, Cooking


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

12 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

12 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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