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Scientific Publications

Some examples of previous publications that I have been involved in over the years (as a scientist). Some are published in peer review journals and others have appeared in academic books. The style very much reflects the services I can provide you now as a scientific writer. 

I have tried to provide downloadable versions where available (and as much as I dare to not infringe copyright!).

The human gut microflora, the metabolism of dietary components and relevance to health and disease.

This is my PhD thesis.  The aim of the work was to investigate how different dietary components are metabolised by the human gut microbiota.  Specifically this covered the isoflavone daidzein (from soya) and N-nitroso compounds from red meat.  You can read more about it here.

Here is the summary:

Secondary metabolite production from dietary compounds through activities of the human gut microbiota has been recognised for many years as being important in human health and disease risk.  However, there is a relative lack of knowledge about the specific compositions of microbiota involved in such metabolic activities.  The major focus of this research has been in respect of the conversion of daidzein, a soya isoflavone to secondary metabolites that may be important in various health and disease states.  The application of a range of in vitro and in vivo techniques have revealed a subtle relationship between activities of the microbiota and secondary metabolite production.  In vitro studies revealed amongst a number of findings, that specific species of bacteria from the gut may be involved in the complete breakdown of daidzein to acetic acid.  This has relevance for the bioavailability of the compound and may help in explaining some of the inter-individual variation in excretion rates of daidzein and secondary metabolites that is often seen in human volunteers.  Subsequent in-vivo studies revealed that the production of equol from daidzein in human volunteers may be related firstly to the relative levels of bifidobacteria present (which appear to be important in the release of daidzein for subsequent metabolism); and to the relative levels of an assortment of lactobacilli, eubacteria and other species of bacteria.  The application of a number of statistical approaches helped verify the quality of the findings.  Overall, it appears that a microbiota generally considered to be more beneficial is required to achieve higher levels of conversion of daidzein to equol (a secondary metabolite thought to have considerable potency for health protection).  The relative success of approaches employed in regard to this question, have indicated that it may be appropriate in issues of a similar nature.  Meat nitrosation is one such area of research.  However, the microbiota in this case is thought to be responsible for conversion of compounds from red meat to potentially cancer causing agents and thus this was considered relevant to identify the composition necessary for production of N-nitroso compounds (NOCs).  Again, it was found that a microflora considered to be generally beneficial to health was likely to be responsible for a greater NOC production (and this included a positive relationship with relative levels and changes in bifidobacteria and lactobacilli components).  The application of a range of techniques is described in the process of this research and consequences of the findings are discussed.  The overall output of this study is that in tackling questions in relation to the human gut microflora and metabolism, taking account of the multidimensional nature of the system and applying appropriate techniques, it is possible to reveal subtle but potentially important relationships that may be relevant in human health and disease.

Currently, the full text can only be viewed at The University of Reading Library.  I am currently looking into publishing the entire thesis on this site.    

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