Research

Hypotheses:

  1. gut microbiota diversity can modulate inflammation and susceptibility to enteric infections
  2. interventions with food ingredients can modulate inflammation, protect against infection and elicit positive effects on metabolism

Background:

ELDERMET established a relational database of macronutrient-microbiota-health associations, including inflammatory biomarkers. Studies of younger adults also support a microbiota-inflammation axis and confirm microbiota diversity modulation by diet. The ELDERMET data identifies exploitable links between food ingredients and microbiota diversity. Additionally, several nutrients such as fatty acids modulate immune function and metabolism, but if this is effected via the gut microbiota is unknown. The synergy between nutrition and nutrient-driven microbiome diversity represents an opportunity for ingredient development for the food industry.

Experimental approach:

We use a combination of in vitro and pre-clinical models, and human dietary challenge to test the ability of defined food ingredients to modulate microbiota diversity, to promote appropriate innate immune function, and to modulate inflammation-related disorders like type 2 diabetes. APC colleagues in Teagasc Moorepark and UCC and partner researchers in UCD, UL, and NUIG identify food ingredients that promote microbiota diversity, which can be incorporated by the Irish food industry into novel foods that promote health.