Authors of a new Cell paper gave groups of germ-free mice fecal microbiota samples from six healthy adults representing five different habitual diets: American (both a standard diet and a ‘primal’ diet), Bangladeshi, Malawian, and Amerindian. Each transplant recipient was fed a sequence of five diets, which simulated what the human donors typically consumed, almost as if each mouse had traveled to the different geographical locations and eaten what the locals ate.

Researchers found that the relationship between gut microbiota and transit time depended on diet. In particular, turmeric slowed motility in the mice with a Bangladeshi microbiota and diet. The mechanism involved bile acid secretion/deconjugation and Ret signaling in the enteric nervous system (ENS).

These data support the idea that gut motility is affected by different combinations of gut microbiota and diet interacting with the ENS.

Dey N, et al. (2015) Regulators of Gut Motility Revealed by a Gnotobiotic Model of Diet-Microbiome Interactions Related to Travel. Cell DOI: