Evolving bacteria in beer, bread may lead to new treatments

Beer and bread have been staples of the human diet for over 7,000 years – and over this period, a bacterium has evolved almost exclusively within the human gut that is able to eat its way through the yeast in these food products.

A new study now suggests this bacterium may provide the basis for new treatments for yeast infections and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's disease.

The study will pave the way for further research in the field of developing new treatments. The gut bacteria, which digest beer and bread, might be useful in curing several diseases.

It has evolved to digest the yeast that creates bubbles in beer and bread.

The team of researchers from the Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and the University of Michigan Medical School studied how microbes in humans digestive tract have evolved to be able to digest yeast.

They are capable of digesting complex carbohydrates that make up the yeast cell wall. The team found that a common gut bacterium called Bacteroidesthetaiotomicron was able to degrade yeasts in human gut.

The team believes that the study will help accelerate the development of prebiotic medicines.

The team including scientists form the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States and Belgium unraveled the mechanism by which B. thetaiotaomicron has evolved to digest yeast mannans.