An Observational Study on the Microorganism Population in the Guinea Pig Gut Microbiome
Guinea pigs are used in many studies, but they are actually largely understudied. Specifically, the way guinea pigs break down and absorb their food is unknown and the specific microbial mechanisms involved are also barely studied. Current studies of humans show how important gut health is to the immune system, nutrition, and mood, so further studying our guinea pig relatives is extremely valuable. This student's project took a closer look at what conditions the microorganisms in a guinea pig can endure and the tipping point when they can no longer carry out their digestive functions. Additionally, the project reveals what medium a diverse sample of guinea pig microorganisms grows the best on and if some unique colonies specifically prefer some growing conditions better than others. To undertake this research, fecal samples were collected and plated on agar plates under six conditions (plain, sugar, salt, glucose, starch, and vitamin c).
This student wrote a research paper.
The most valuable part of this program was receiving continued support from my mentor and gaining experience in how to write a research paper and effectively collect data.