“Discovering probiotic mechanisms of action is the right way to go,” said Peter Nählstedt. “This research can help with health claims because many EFSA opinions have demanded mechanism of action data so it could be part of the puzzle for health claim applications.”
The work will interest EU health claim observers and probiotics players as mechanisms of action are an area the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has noted is weak in the sector.
Probi will link with professor Michiel Kleerebezem at Wageningen’s Host Microbe Interactomics Group on the 4-year PhD project.
Probiotics are best known for their gut and immune benefits but mechanisms of action have proved difficult to define. Here the aim will be anti-inflammation mechanisms of action and identifying the most viable strains both “known and unknown” in vitro and in vivo.
Wageningen University is one of Europe’s leading food research institutions. Kleerebezem’s unit has worked in areas such as cell biology, immunology, microbiology and functional genomics “to increase the understanding of molecular interactions occurring in the cross-talk between microbes and their hosts.”
Nählstedt added in a statement: “We see this collaboration as an important step in our future product development.”
“I personally believe that this project will lead to a much better understanding of anti-inflammatory probiotics and provide an opportunity for Probi to develop novel products in new and interesting fields.”
Probi has strain supply deals with Danone and its US subsidiary Dannon and recently signed an €18m deal with US supplements firm NBTY, which owns UK-based health food retail chain Holland & Barrett.