Reducing Acetate and Energy Uptake in Obese Humans by Managing Their Intestinal Microbial Communities

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown (Inventor), Bruce Rittmann (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


Obesity is epidemic in the United States, and it is increasingly a problem in much of the developed world. The health care costs associated with obesity and obesity-related diseases are a significant and increasing fraction of total healthcare spending. Currently, the most effective means to reverse obesity is surgical intervention: gastric bypass or gastric binding. Both of these procedures are invasive, expensive, and present significant risks to the patient. There is a need then, for a simpler, non-invasive means to inhibit, reverse, or even prevent altogether the development of obesity. Researchers at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University in collaboration with researchers at the Mayo Clinic have discovered methods to decrease the energy (caloric) uptake of obese humans by changing the microbial communities in their intestine. By decreasing absorption of acetatewhich is converted to fatfrom food digestion, energy uptake can be reduced and obesity diminished. The researchers discovered that removal of H2 by methanogens leads to increased production of acetate. Therefore, ways to scavenge acetate, include using probiotics such as acetate oxidizing bacteria or acetoclastic methanogens, and enhancing the growth of acetate-scavenging microbiota are desirable. Similarly, a microbial electrolysis cell comprising of an acetogenic bacterium and/or acetoclastic methanogen can be implanted in the gut to control the microbial population. These methods avoid surgical risks, reduce nutritional impact, and are reversible in the case that side effects are encountered. Potential Applications Treatment for obesity Benefits and Advantages Fewer adverse health effects Non-invasive treatment Relatively low cost Download Original PDF For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see Dr. Rittmann's directory webpage Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown's directory webpage
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Aug 25 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Reducing Acetate and Energy Uptake in Obese Humans by Managing Their Intestinal Microbial Communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this