Short-Term Tomato Consumption Alters the Pig Gut Microbiome toward a More Favorable Profile

Mallory L. Goggans, Emma A. Bilbrey, Cristian D. Quiroz-Moreno, David M. Francis, Sheila K. Jacobi, Jasna Kovac, Jessica L. Cooperstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown to exert positive effects on the gut microbiome. However, little is known about the specific effect of individual fruits or vegetables on gut microbe profiles. This study aims to elucidate the effects of tomato consumption on the gut microbiome, as tomatoes account for 22% of vegetable consumption in Western diets, and their consumption has been associated with positive health outcomes. Using piglets as a physiologically relevant model of human metabolism, 20 animals were assigned to either a control or a tomato powder-supplemented diet (both macronutrient matched and isocaloric) for 14 days. The microbiome was sampled rectally at three time points: day 0 (baseline), day 7 (midpoint), and day 14 (end of study). DNA was sequenced using shotgun metagenomics, and reads were annotated using MG-RAST. There were no differences in body weight or feed intake between our two treatment groups. There was a microbial shift which included a higher ratio of Bacteroidota to Bacillota (formerly known as Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, respectively) and higher alpha-diversity in tomato-fed animals, indicating a shift to a more desirable phenotype. Analyses at both the phylum and genus levels showed global microbiome profile changes (permutational multivariate analysis of variance [PERMANOVA], P ≤ 0.05) over time but not with tomato consumption. These data suggest that short-term tomato consumption can beneficially influence the gut microbial profile, warranting further investigation in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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