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Researchers discover link between household chemicals and gut microbiome



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image: Courtney Gardner, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University, is the lead author of the paper, and she collaborated as a postdoc to complete the research on the paper. More

Credit: WSU

Pullman, Washington-For the first time, a team of researchers has discovered a correlation between the levels of bacteria and fungi in the gastrointestinal tract of children and the levels of common chemicals in their home environment.

The work was published this month Environmental Technology ExpressIt may give people a better understanding of how these semi-volatile organic compounds affect human health.

Courtney Gardner, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University, is the lead author of the paper. She worked with Duke University to complete the paper as a postdoctoral researcher.

The gut microbiome is a community of microorganisms living in our intestines, and interest in researchers has increased in recent years. The microorganisms in our intestines (including a variety of bacteria and fungi) are believed to affect many processes from nutrient absorption to our immunity, and unhealthy microbiomes are associated with diseases such as obesity, asthma and dementia.

In this study, researchers measured the levels of semi-organic compounds prevalent in the blood and urine of 69 toddlers and preschoolers, and then used stool samples to study the children̵

7;s gut microbiome. The semi-volatile organic compounds they measured included phthalates used in detergents, plastic clothes (such as raincoats, shower curtains), and personal care products (such as soap, shampoo, and hair spray), as well as perfluorinated and poly Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are used in anti-fouling and waterproof fabrics, carpet and furniture coatings, non-stick cooking products, polishes, paints and cleaning products. People are exposed to such chemicals in the air and dust in the house every day, especially young children, who may ingest them by crawling on the carpet or often putting objects in their mouths.

When the researchers looked at the levels of fungi and bacteria in the gut, they found differences in the gut microbiome of children with higher levels of blood chemicals.

Children with higher levels of PFOS in their blood have reduced the number and types of bacteria, while increased levels of phthalates are associated with a decrease in fungal populations.

Gardner said the correlation between these chemicals and bacteria with lower levels of bacteria is particularly obvious and may be the most worrying.

She said: “These microorganisms may not be the main driving factors, and may play a more subtle role in our biology, but maybe one of the microorganisms does have a unique function, and reducing its level may have a major impact on health. .”

The researchers were also surprised to find that the intestines of children with high levels of chemical substances in the blood also contain several kinds of bacteria, which have been used to remove toxic chemicals. Dehalogenated bacteria have been used in bioremediation to degrade persistent halogenated chemicals, such as dry cleaning solvents from the environment. These bacteria are usually not found in the human intestine.

Gardner said: “The discovery of increased levels of such bacteria in the gut means that the gut microbiome may try to correct itself.”

Gardner hopes to use the information collected from the research to develop a diagnostic tool for people, and possibly for future probiotic interventions to improve health.

She said: “Although these data do not indicate causality, they provide an indication of the types of organisms that may be affected by exposure to these compounds and provide a springboard for future research.” “For artificial chemicals, gut microbiome and A more comprehensive understanding of the interaction between human health is a key step in promoting public health.”

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This work was funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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