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HORT 578 - Phytochemicals and Probiotics for Health

  • 3 credits

A survey of phytochemistry and probiotic organisms, including their synthesis in plants, prevalence and sources in the diet, their use for health improvement, and molecular mechanisms by which they modulate intracellular signal transduction and protein expression in chronic disease states such as cancer and obesity. The course provides a current review of how gut microbes affect human metabolism and health, and how plant biology and metabolism effects phytochemical content of foods. Specific topics include the role of bioactive peptides, phenolics, terpenes, alkaloids, and organosulfurs in human health, and discuss issues of food waste and role of plant breeding and biotechnology. Course activities include lecture, discussion, analysis of case studies, and exercises to develop new dietary products based on phytochemicals and gut microorganisms.

Course Learning Objectives
1. Define specific content knowledge and vocabulary in the major areas encompassed by phytochemistry and probiotics and health.
2. Explain the mechanisms through which plants synthesize and regulate dietary phytochemicals.
3. Analyze and interpret the mechanisms through which certain phytochemicals modulate receptor activation, intracellular signal transduction, and gene and protein expression.
4. Explain the interactions between dietary phytochemicals and gut microbes in relation to gut and systemic inflammation.
5. Interpret and summarize the influence of phytochemicals and gut microbes on disease states such as cancer.
6. Evaluate case studies involving phytochemicals and probiotics for their effects on human health.
7. Design new products involving phytochemicals and probiotics for their effects on human health.
8. Develop critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills in phytochemicals, probiotics, and human health.


BC 351 (Prerequisite); Senior Standing. Credit not allowed for both HORT 578 and FTEC 578

Important Information

Senior standing. Must register for lecture and recitation. Credit not allowed for both FTEC 578 and HORT 578.


Tiffany Weir
Tiffany Weir

9704917170 |

Dr. Tiffany Weir is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She studies the role of microbes in ecosystem functioning, with ecosystems ranging from soils to processed food products to the human gut, conducting studies to examine how fermentation of plant foods affects composition and bioavailability of phytochemicals beneficial for human health, and how dietary phytochemicals affect the composition of gut microbes. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Penn State, and Ph.D. from Colorado State University. Her research spans many systems to identify the inter-relationships between diet, microflora, and microbial metabolism to gain a better understanding of their underlying mechanisms. She also teaches courses for the Fermentation Science and Technology program at CSU.