The Gut Bacteria Reef Report

Leading marine biologist from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University Townsville, A/Prof. David Bourne, has collaborated with medical expert, Dr Ginni Mansberg on the pioneering report, commissioned by Kellogg’s Australia.


The report revealed that, much like coral reefs, our gut microbiome is a vast and complex ecosystem with a diverse range of microorganisms that must live in balance and harmony to survive*.


Both the gut and coral reefs are home to a staggering diversity of life that includes thousands of species of living organisms. A rise in the dominance of one or more species can upset the balance in either ecosystem and affect its overall health*.


Associate Professor David Bourne explains: “There are thousands of species of fish, corals and bacteria living on the Great Barrier Reef and, similarly, it’s estimated we have over 1,000 types of bacteria living in our gut. Both are a complex collection of organisms that function together, each with its own purpose and each playing an important role to remain healthy. When one species dominates the space, it can create imbalance and can affect the overall health of the ecosystem.”


The two ecosystems are so similar, consumers are not able to tell the difference. When presented with images of their gut, 26% of Aussies mistakenly thought it was an image of a coral reef. The results were the same when shown images of gut microbes, with almost half (49%) of Aussies unknowingly thinking they were types of coral.


As most Australians (40%) do not know that their gut is a living ecosystem, Kellogg’s has used this coral reef analogy and the report to create a new world-first virtual reality experience – the Gut Bacteria Reef. This experience allows people to dive in and explore their gut ecosystem for the very first time.


Two out of three Australian adults are not meeting their fibre requirements so by showing Australians the invisible world inside their bodies, it may help them better understand the importance of diet and fibre for good gut health.


Dr Ginni Mansberg further explains: “For overall gut health, we need to look after the species of bacteria that look after us. You don’t need fancy pills and potions to do it...eating healthy diet rich in fibre is where you should start."


Find out more about how Kellogg’s fibre cereals can help you to keep your gut in balance.


Fayet-Moore et al, Nutrients, 2018.