Dorrain Low

Dorrain Low

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2016

Receiving laboratory: NutriVasc, UNH Human nutrition, Clermont-Ferrand-Theix

Country of origin : Australia




Mobility project

Untargeted metabolomics to study associations between individual; exposure to plant bioactive metabolites and cognitive function

The D-Cogplast project (JPI-HDHL) is focussed on identifying dietary bioactives protective against age-related cognitive decline and/or triggered by changes in brain plasticity and neuronal integrity. This project leverages the Three-Cities observational cohort study of elderly French subjects involving 200 individuals with accelerated cognitive decline over 13 years against 200 matched controls. Using an untargeted metabolomics approach, we analysed the serum metabolomics profiles collected at the beginning of the cohort follow-up. We hypothesise that differences between serum metabolomes of the case and control groups will reflect differences in participants’ habitual dietary intake, particularly for bioactive metabolites, and aim to identify a combination of diet-derived metabolites associated with cognitive decline during ageing.

Effort is also made to create an extensive in-house databank containing all plant food bioactives and their metabolites likely to modulate brain aging, complete with monoisotopic masses, relevant spectral data and dietary origin. If metabolism information of food bioactives is missing, their most likely metabolites will be predicted using in silico tools, ie, Meteor (Lhasa Ltd) and Biotransformer (University of Alberta). This databank will faciliate a more effective screening of metabolomics profiles especially since identification of compounds is a major challenge due to generated features showing hundreds of possible elemental formulae and the lack of available databases to reduce the number of potential elemental forumale.

Biography & research interests

My PhD (University of Queensland) was focussed on studying the effects of sequential digestive processing of cellular macronutrients and phytonutrients, leading to elucidating gut microbial-mediate polyphenol biotransformations. This work also led to an investigation of phenolic metabolism along the gastrointestinal tract to identify metabolites in real-time passage, and biomarkers in circulating plasma and urinary excretion profiles. As such, I have developed a strong interest in the application of nutrition to managing health and/or diseased states including neuroinflammation, and the effects of dietary phytonutrients (i.e., polyphenols) on cognition and neurogenesis.

I am currently studying the associations between dietary intake (of plant food rich diets) and old-age related cognition decline to identify discriminating combinations of bioactive plant metabolites in individuals with accelerated cognition decline and with preserved cognition. I believe the findings from this D-Cogplast project will open new avenues for nutritional recommendations in the context of prevention and treatment of age-related diseases, ie, Alzheimer’s disease, particularly since diet is a modifiable risk factor.

Selected publications

LOW, D. Y., HODSON, M. P., WILLIAMS, B A., D’ARCY, B. R. & GIDLEY, M. J. (2016). Microbial transformation of polyphenols during in vitro colonic fermentation of masticated mango and banana. Food Chemistry, 207, 214-222;

LOW, D. Y., WILLIAMS, B. A., FLANAGAN, B. M., D’ARCY, B. R. & GIDLEY, M. J. (2015). In vitro fermentation of chewed mango and banana tissue: Particle size, starch and vascular fibre effects. Food & Function, 6, 2464-2474;

LOW, D. Y., D’ARCY, B., & GIDLEY, M. J. (2015). Mastication effects on carotenoid bioaccessibility from mango fruit tissue. Food Research International, 67, 238-246;

LOW, D. Y., WILLIAMS, B. A., NETZEL, G. A., NETZEL, M., D’ARCY, B. R. & GIDLEY, M. J. (2014). Polyphenol fermentation and metabolism in vitro. In: Polyphenols Communications 2014;

LOW, D. Y. & GRANT, L. (2014). More than a gut feeling. Food Australia, Feb 2014, 32-35.



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