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WATCH: How is microbiome science impacting the trend for personalisation?

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

With a growing focus on the microbiome, and huge industry buzz about the potential for a new wave of personalised nutrition solutions, the NutraIngredients team asked experts at our recent Probiota conference how they think microbiome science and business will impact personalisation approaches.

"It is clear, that if we are speaking about personalised nutrition, and each person has a different gut microbiome, it's something that all of the people working on that are analysing very seriously,"​ says Dr Daniel Ramón Vidal of ADM Biopolis.

He noted that when you look at companies on personalised nutrition space, many of them are already offering microbiome testing and solutions.

 Linda Nackmar of Probi says she believes there is some way to go before microbiome testing can reliably inform personalised nutrition solutions.

"I think we have a way to go there, because we can't really tell today what's good with my microbiome and what's good with yours,"​ she told us.

"We can't even tell what's good and what's bad. We've got indications for it, so I think we've got some way to go."

Nackmar added that she beleives there is a greater need to first educate consumers about the basics around probiotics, "then we can take the next step into personalisation," she added. "But it's an interesting field for sure."

However, Professor Gregor Reid of Western University in Canada - and chair of ISAPP - says he believes that we now know enough 'already' to be looking at applications. 

"I don't think we're going to get big surprises about some amazing organism we've missed,"​ he commented. "Maybe we will, maybe it will be a phage or a fungi that we've missed. But in general I think we pretty much know what bacteria are there."

"The key now is, what's the function, and what do we do about it," ​said Reid. "How do you modulate that to the benefit of people, and that has to be the next phase that drives us, in humans."

No more rodent studies

Reid also says industry and academics should be doing more to push research in humans, rather than relying on rodent models that often don't tell us much and require further work.

"No more rodents,"​ said Reid. "We could be doing more human studies."

"If that happens, I think we're going to see a lot of really exciting things."

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