Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Experimental mice are raised in the IVC cages.

Mice given antibiotics regained a normal microbiome more quickly if they lived in groups than if they lived alone. Credit: Getty

Microbiome

The meal plan that hinders the gut’s recovery from antibiotics

Experiments in mice show that a regimen of low-fibre foods keeps the gut microbiome from bouncing back.

A low-fibre diet could hamper the recovery of a healthy gut microbiome after antibiotic therapy.

Kerwyn Casey Huang at Stanford University in California and his colleagues studied intestinal bacteria in mice whose guts had been populated with microbes from a human donor. For five days, the team treated the ‘humanized’ mice with common antibiotics, such as streptomycin and ciprofloxacin.

Gut-microbe density dropped up to 100,000-fold within half a day of the rodents beginning antibiotics. Certain microbial species began to recover by about the third day of antibiotics, but recovery was delayed in mice fed a fibre-poor diet.

The researchers also gave streptomycin to mice with rodent microbiomes and found that animals housed alone were slower to recover than those housed in groups. Streptomycin can eliminate different bacterial strains in different animals, so mice living communally might have reconstituted their gut microbiomes more quickly by taking up microbes from their roommates.

The authors suggest that the fibre-poor diets and highly sanitized environments common in Western society could hinder the recovery of the microbiome in humans who’ve taken antibiotics.

More Research Highlights...

Camera-trap image of Dendrohyrax interfluvialis

Some tree hyraxes scream in the night, but the newly identified Dendrohyrax interfluvialis (above, camera-trap image) utters a complex series of squawks, rattles and barks. Credit: J. F. Oates et al./Zool. J. Linn. Soc.

Zoology

A bark in the dark reveals a hidden hyrax

Its neighbours scream, but a new species of tree hyrax — a cousin of the elephant — unleashes a rattling bark.
Plastic and other debris floats underwater in blue water

Plastic detritus from snacks and meals floats in the Red Sea. Marine sampling shows that food waste accounts for nearly 90% of plastic pollution at some locales. Credit: Andrey Nekrasov/Barcroft Media/Getty

Ocean sciences

Humanity’s fast-food habit is filling the ocean with plastic

Food bags, drink bottles and similar items account for the biggest share of plastic waste near the shore.
Conceptual artwork of a pair of entangled quantum particles.

An artist’s impression of ‘entangled’ particles, which share properties even at a distance. Entangled photons can be used to help secure a multi-party video meeting. Credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library

Quantum information

Quantum keys dial up tamper-proof conference calls

A new experiment efficiently distributes the highly secure keys to four parties instead of the typical two.
Farmers harvest pineapples in a field.

Workers harvest pineapples in Lingao County, China. Less than one-third of the money spent on food eaten at home reaches farmers. Credit: Yuan Chen/VCG/Getty

Economics

Poor harvest: farmers earn a pitiful fraction of the money spent on food

The bulk of consumer food spending around the world ends up in the coffers of distributors, processors and other parties beyond the farm gate.
A woman wearing a protective face mask splashes her hands in a jet of water

A pedestrian seeks relief from searing temperatures in Spain, where a high proportion of heat-related deaths have been linked to climate change. Credit: SALAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Climate change

More than one-third of heat deaths blamed on climate change

Warming resulting from human activities accounts for a high percentage of heat-related deaths, especially in southern Asia and South America.
Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing

Search

Quick links