Robert Hutkins

Hutkins Research Area

The Hutkins Lab studies bacteria important in human health and in fermented foods. The lab is particularly interested in understanding factors that affect persistence of probiotic lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Specifically, we are focused on establishing the molecular basis for metabolism of prebiotic oligosaccharides and how these prebiotics shift the intestinal microbiota in humans and animals. We are also interested in the anti-adherence properties of oligosaccharides against intestinal pathogens and the molecular mechanisms involved in pathogen binding to the surface of host cells.

Gut Function Initiative website

Recent Publications

Ramirez-Hernandez, A., J. Rupnow, and R.W. Hutkins. 2015. Reduction by mannan oligosaccharides and a high molecular weight component of cranberry extract of adherence to HEp-2 cells by Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. J. Food Prot. 78:1496–1505.

 Hutkins, R.W., J.A. Krumbeck, L.B. Bindels, P.D. Cani, G. Fahey, Jr., Y.J. Goh, B. Hamaker, E.C. Martens, D.A. Mills, R.A. Rastal, E. Vaughan, and M.E. Sanders. 2016. Prebiotics: why definitions matter. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 37:1–7.

Krumbeck, J.A., M.X. Maldonado-Gomez, I. Martínez, S.A. Frese, T.E. Burkey, K. Rasineni, A.E. Ramer-Tait, E.N. Harris, R.W. Hutkins, and J. Walter. 2015. In vivo selection to identify bacterial strains with enhanced ecological performance in synbiotic applications. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 81:2445-2465.

Maldonado-Gomez, M.X., H. Lee, D. Barile, M. Lu, and R.W. Hutkins. 2015. Adherence inhibition of enteric pathogens to epithelial cells by bovine colostrum fractions. Int. Dairy J. 40:24-32.

 Quintero, M.I., A. Wittke, and R. Hutkins. 2014. Adherence inhibition of Cronobacter sakazakii to intestinal epithelial cells by lactoferrin. Curr. Microbiol. 69:574-579.

 Rattanaprasert, M., S. Roos, J.Walter and R.W. Hutkins. 2014. Quantitative evaluation of synbiotic strategies to improve persistence and metabolic activity of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 in the human gastrointestinal tract. J. Functional Foods 10:85-94.

Quintero, M., B. Aam, J. Rupnow, M. Sørlie, V. Eijsink, and R.W. Hutkins. 2013. Adherence inhibition of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli by chitooligosaccharides with specific degrees of acetylation and polymerization. J. Ag. Food Chem. 61:2748-2754.

Ebersbach, T., J.B. Andersen, A. Bergström, R.W. Hutkins, and T.R. Licht. 2012. Xylo-oligosaccharides inhibit pathogen adhesion to enterocytes in vitro. Res. Microbiol. 163:22-27.

Quintero, M.I., M.X. Maldonado, M.E. Perez, R. Jimenez, T. Fangman, J. Rupnow, A. Wittke, M. Russell, and R. Hutkins. 2011. Adherence Inhibition of Cronobacter sakazakii to intestinal epithelial cells by prebiotic oligosaccharides. Curr. Microbiol. 62:1448–1454.

Goh, Y.G., C. Goin, S. O'Flaherty, E. Altermann, and R. Hutkins. 2011. Specialized adaptation of a lactic acid bacterium to the milk environment: the comparative genomics of Streptococcus thermophilus LMD-9. Microb. Cell Fact. 10:22.

Davis, L., I. Martinez, J. Walter, C. Goin, and R. Hutkins. 2011. Barcoded pyrosequencing reveals that consumption of galactooligosaccharides results in a highly specific bifidogenic response in humans. PLoS One 6(9):e25200.

Teaching Activities:
Contemporary Issues in Food Science
Food Microbiology
Microbiology of Fermented Foods

Dr. Robert Hutkins
Khem Shahani Professor of Food Science

Ph.D. in Food Microbiology, 1984, from the University of Minnesota.

M.S. in Food Science, 1980, from the University of Missouri.

B.S. in Food Science, 1979, from the University of Missouri.

Professional Experience
1987 - Present: Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Appointment in the School of Biological Sciences.

1986 - 1987: Research Scientist, Sanofi Bio Ingredients, Inc.,
Waukesha, Wisconsin.

1984 - 1986: Post-Doctoral Research Associate,
Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology, Boston, Mass.

Contact Information
258 Food Innovation Center
Lincoln, NE 68588-6205
402 472 2820