A new paper by King’s Water member, Dr Daniel Schillereff, looks at the intriguing links between water quality and human health in the UK. In ‘Associations between UK tap water and gut microbiota composition suggest the gut microbiome as a potential mediator of health differences linked to water quality’ published in Science of the Total Environment, Daniel and his colleagues present latest work on tap water quality and its impact on gut microbiota.
He worked with a team from the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s as well as Oxford University and St Thomas’ Hospital with the support of a King’s Together grant. Daniel’s next steps are to expand the analysis, working with the British Geological Survey—so read up and watch this space!
“Tap water composition has been widely linked to differences in human health, however the biological pathways underlying this association are less clearly defined. We provide the first investigation of the potential for the gut microbiota to mediate this association. Tap water samples and drinking habits from 85 Mono-zygotic twins with existing faecal microbiota profiles from around the UK were used to assess associations of water composition with the gut microbiome. Water composition was captured using the first 3 principle components (PCs) from multiple factor analysis of ion concentrations, additionally estimating average daily dose (ADD) of the primary three solutes contributing to its variance: chloride, sulphate and sodium. Geographic differences in water composition were assessed. We used measures of faecal microbial diversity, between-individual differences in composition and differences in taxa abundance estimated from 16S rRNA sequencing data. Differences between twin pairs were also considered. We observed significant associations of sodium ADD with microbiota diversity (Chao1), chloride, sodium and sulphate ADD with dissimilarity between samples, and significant associations for all PCs and ADD-adjusted solutes with abundances of individual microbial taxa. These results support the hypothesis that the gut microbiota could mediate the effects of tap water composition on host health, warranting further investigation into tap-water as an influencer of microbiota composition.”
Bowyer, R.C., Schillereff, D.N., Jackson, M.A., Le Roy, C., Wells, P.M., Spector, T.D. and Steves, C.J., 2020. Associations between UK tap water and gut microbiota composition suggest the gut microbiome as a potential mediator of health differences linked to water quality. Science of The Total Environment, p.139697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139697