Molecular Reconstruction of the Diet in Human Stool Samples
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Understanding dietary effects on the gut microbial composition is one of the key questions in human microbiome research. It is highly important to have reliable dietary data on the stool samples to unambiguously link the microbiome composition to food intake. Often, however, self-reported diet surveys have low accuracy and can be misleading. Thereby, additional molecular biology-based methods could help to revise the diet composition. The article by Reese et al. [A. T. Reese, T. R. Kartzinel, B. L. Petrone, P. J. Turnbaugh, et al., mSystems 4(5):e00458-19, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00458-19] in a recent issue of mSystems describes a DNA metabarcoding strategy targeting chloroplast DNA markers in stool samples from 11 human subjects consuming both controlled and freely selected diets. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of this molecular method in detecting plant remains in the sample compared to the written dietary records. This study displays an important first step in implementing molecular dietary reconstructions in stool microbiome studies which will finally help to increase the accuracy of dietary metadata.