1. To assess the composition of the faecal microbiota of elderly volunteers in the Irish population, using state-of-the-art molecular techniques.
  2. To correlate diversity, composition, and metabolic potential of the faecal microbial metagenome with health, diet and lifestyle indices that are a) likely to be influenced by the microbiota or b) to influence the microbiota.
  3. To develop recommendations for specific dietary ingredients, foodstuffs, functional foods and/or dietary supplements, that will improve the health of elderly consumers.
  4. To provide evidence-based recommendations for prospective studies to determine the molecular mechanisms for health improvements promoted by specific food ingredients that modulate components of the microbiota.