About this Research Topic
Gut microbiota (gut flora) has been considered the central axis or “soul” of the body. Overall, the metabolic network of the host is directly or indirectly regulated by the gut microbiota or its metabolites. Different metabolic or lifestyle-related diseases are linked with the alteration of gut flora. Other than from food, different endogenous (hormones) and exogenous environmental factors including blood pH, metal incorporation, antibiotics, environmental stress, sexual behavior, medication, hormonal changes, geographical location, host-related factors, etc. can also modulate the composition and function gut flora. The present trend of research in this area is focused on protecting the indigenous good gut flora by altering or supplementing the nutraceutical components of food. This is in order to combat different infectious and non-infectious lifestyle-related diseases. In this regard, much focus has been put on some traditionally fermented foods (like yogurt, curds, kefir, Natto, kimchi, etc.) to improve their quality and safety considering their historic benefits.
During fermentation, food becomes partially digested and enriched with different nutraceuticals including food grade microbes, prebiotic components, phenolics, fatty acids, etc. These bioactive components are health-promoting and their action is propagated through the modulation of indigenous beneficial gut flora and their reactive metabolites. For the first time, it was advocated that Korean kochujang (a traditional fermented soybean-based red pepper paste) and Kimchi (fermented vegetables with lactic acid bacteria) have significant anti-obesity effects on humans. There are many studies that also suggest that fermented foods are more nutritious and healthy than unfermented foods. The impact of traditional fermented food on the quality and composition of gut flora is the prime objective of this Research Topic.
People from different parts of the world have different dietary habits (vegan, vegetarian, non-vegetarian, etc.) and consume different types of food grains and meat products that are dependent upon a variety of factors including geographical location, climate, and the availability of bioresources. Excess food (energy) intake can lead to obesity and its associated disorders. On the contrary, a smaller intake of food or a less varied diet is often associated with malnutrition. Now it has been well recognized that all of these components of diets have selective impacts on the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota. To combat malnutrition - particularly in developing countries - different supplementary programs have been initiated but most are not supportive enough for the improvement of an individual’s health status. For example, iron supplementation is very popular to combat anemia in infants and pregnant women, but this can facilitate the overgrowth of gut pathogens. Searching for bioavailable minerals by means of fermentation or other processes is seems to be an alternative.
The gut microbiota composition is now considered the central axis of the host’s health. The dysbiosis of microbiota leads to the induction of different metabolic diseases. The concept of the diet-microbiota-host axis revealed that diet is the primary determinant of gut flora composition. Huge scientific reports are now focusing on the suitability of diet with respect to the restoration of gut microbial composition to maintain the healthy aspects of the host. Fermented foods contain a mine of nutraceuticals including food-grade microbes, vitamins, minerals, phenolics, and other bioactive nutrients. Their summative effects and mechanisms of action are complex and multifactorial. Enriched fermented food not only provides adequate micro- and pre-digested macromolecules to the host, but these foods are also favorable for the growth and metabolic activities of resident beneficial gut flora. The microbial metabolites can directly modulate the host’s physiology. The metabolic end product of dietary fiber is short-chain fatty acids, and its receptors are ubiquitously present in different tissues and are modulated in their function by control at the gene level. Such types of mediators are now a hot topic of research.
For centuries, people have adopted the technique of fermentation for the preservation of excess food. This modified, fermented food is supportive of health, and the benefits of which have been experienced by people from generation to generation. Since the renaissance of gut microbiome research in the last few decades, it is now even more pressing for us to understand the impact of traditional foods on the composition and functionality of the gut flora to explore their healthiness at intestinal and extraintestinal levels. Authors are invited to submit a manuscript that includes, but is not limited to, the following aspects:
• Fermented food for sustainable nutrition;
• Alleviation of disease/symptoms by specific fermented foods;
• Understanding the diet-microbiota-host health relationship;
• Research into traditional fermented food in relation to health benefits, microbes- metabolites interaction, impact on gut flora, nutraceuticals composition, and related fields.
Dr. Mojibur R. Khan has the following patents registered in his name "A method for production of fragrant compounds from resinous chips of Aquilaria malaccensis" (201633016084A), “A method of production of rice based beverage with high alcohol content” (201731006470), and is the Founder and Managing Director of a startup, "Gutvicinta". The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.
Keywords: Fermented food, sustainable nutrition, health benefits, gut flora, preservation, gut microbiota, fermentation
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.