Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Oleg Paliy, Ph.D. (Advisor); Hongmei Ren, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Michael Craig, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The benefits of intermittent fasting have been studied across many facets of health. It is known that physiologically fasting results in a metabolic switch from liver-derived glucose to adipose cell derived ketones to be used as energy and signaling molecules. Fasting down-regulates inflammation, increases expression of antioxidant defenses, and activates pathways for DNA repair and autophagy. While fasting or intermittent feeding effects on host physiology have been identified, the relationship between fasting and gut microbiome is not as well known. In times of gut rest, resident microbes undergo detoxication and motility, and in times of activity, gut microbes undergo DNA repair, energy metabolism, and cell growth. These daily fluctuations of microbial composition and function are mainly influenced by feeding patterns, and a change of these feeding patterns results in dysbiosis. In this study, we used an in vitro system to simulate the conditions of the human colon to evaluate gut microbiome fluctuations when switched to a once-per-day feeding pattern also known as intermittent feeding. This study found that intermittent feeding results in a significant increase in three beneficial genera (Mitsoukella, Bifidobacterium, Phoceaicola) and decrease in two detrimental genera (Gemmiger and Desulfovibrio) across all vessels. Cell density, community diversity, and short chain fatty acid production were all decreased by intermittent feeding. It appears that intermittent feeding has both beneficial and harmful effects on the human gut microbiota.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Year Degree Awarded