The microbiome is not limited to the Pharma industry but is also of interest to the Food industry
The interest of microbiome is not limited to the scope of the Pharma industry. The Food industry is actively contributing to the research on the microbiome. Indeed, the Food industry holds a significant part in the emerging of microbiome clinical trials. Among the 15 clinical trials mentioning “microbiome” in Europe in 2008, 14 were related to the Food industry. Moreover, 57% of European overall studies related to microbiome from 2000-17 come from the Food industry. For the same period, in the USA the cumulated number of food microbiome trials represents 43% of the total. In both the USA and Europe, microbiome clinical trials related to the Food industry accounts for about 50% of the studies in 2017.
The interest of the Food industry in the microbiome relies mostly on the development of probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria positively acting for health, while prebiotics are molecules that selectively favor some commensal bacteria, enhancing their growth. Moreover, clinical trials investigate the role of different diets like the Western diet, Mediterranean diets, vegan diets, or gluten free diets on the microbiome. However, since the reinforcement of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regulation on health claims in 2012, the number of food clinical studies is stagnating. Yet some Food companies such as PiLeJe are developing their products as a drug and therefore follow the same path as Pharma companies with clinical studies to prove the efficiency and safety of their products.
Pharma and food industry interest on Microbiome and human health is booming. The common objective is to understand how to preserve and/or to modulate our precious microbial ecosystems to maintain or improve Human health. In Europe, the major challenges for the food industry are the regulatory hurdles. One strategy is to develop their products as a drug.
Besides human health, another microbiome research area is emerging in the food industry, which is the food quality in the production plant. How to control the microbial ecosystems in food production to optimize sensory flavor of the products better? How to control spoilage bacteria? The Researchers in the food industry need to better understand the relationship between shelf-life and microbial behavior. Advanced technologies such as the uses of phages or antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are studied to target specific bacteria to prevent undesirable bacterial colonization (biopreservation).
In the future, pharma and food industries might cross-fertilize their microbiome discoveries and work together for standardization methodologies for a better understanding of microbiome ecosystems and functionalities.
Marc-Olivier Bévierre (Cepton Strategies), Etienne Casal (Biofortis – Mérieux NutriSciences), Murielle Cazaubiel (Biofortis – Mérieux NutriSciences), Françoise Le Vacon (Biofortis – Mérieux NutriSciences), Charles Savoie (Cepton Strategies), Alessandra De Martino (Biofortis – Mérieux NutriSciences)
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1 – Human Microbiome Project website
2 - Kumar A, Chordia N (2017) Role of Microbes in Human Health. Appli Microbiol Open Access 3:131. doi:10.4172/2471-9315.1000131
3 - Clinicaltrials.gov as of January 2018
4 - Chinese Clinical Trial Registry as of January 2018
5 - PubMed as of January 2018