GITools: a toolbox to assess gastrointestinal health effects of natural products
|Startdatum||1 september 2022|
|Einddatum||31 augustus 2026|
In the last decade, the concept on interactions between humans, animals and their environment has drastically changed, endorsed by the One Health approach that recognizes that health of humans and animals are inextricably linked. Consideration of welfare of livestock has increased accordingly and with it, attention into the possibilities to improve livestock health via natural, more balanced nutrition is expanding. Central to effects of healthy nutrition is an optimal gastrointestinal condition which entails a well-balanced functional local immune system leading to a resilient state of well-being.
This project proposal, GITools, aims to establish a toolbox of in vitro assays to screen new feed ingredients for beneficial effects on gastrointestinal health and animal well-being. GITools will focus on pig and chicken as important livestock species present in high quantities and living in close proximity to humans. GITools builds on intestinal models (intestinal cell lines and stem cell-derived organoids), biomarker analysis, and in vitro enzymatic and microbial digestion models of feed constituents.
The concept of GITools originated from various individual contacts and projects with industry partners that produce animal feed (additives) or veterinary medicines. Within these companies, an urgent need exists for straightforward, well-characterized and standardized in vitro methods that provide results translatable to the in vivo situation. This to replace testing of new feed concepts in live animal. We will examine in vitro methods for their applicability with feed ingredients selected based on the availability of data from (previous) in vivo studies. These model compounds will include long and short chain fatty acids, oligosaccharides and herbal-derived components.
GITools will deliver insights on the role of intestinal processes (e.g. dietary hormone production, growth of epithelial cells, barrier function and innate immune responses) in health and well-being of livestock animals and improve the efficiency of testing new feed products.