Tate & Lyle is funding research by APC Microbiome Ireland to examine the metabolic pathways that could affect the relationship between the microbiome and health.
The project aims to explain the functional effects across the gut-brain axis, such as immune regulation, glucose metabolism, gut hormone secretion, tryptophan metabolism, as well as the synbiotic potential of fibres and probiotic strains. It is also expected to reveal how different prebiotic fibres can have a positive effect on health and the most plausible metabolic pathways to explore them further.
Research is mounting that dietary fibres are essential to health and wellbeing – a leading trend today – however, the majority of consumers still come in way below the recommended daily intake of fibre – easily corrected.
Still many questions
Fibre has been found to have prebiotic effects, feeding ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, and promoting a healthy composition of the microbiome. A well-functioning microbiome is important because its bacteria help to digest food, regulate the immune system, protect against other bacteria that cause disease, and produce vitamins including vitamins B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K.
“Most people are starting to understand the importance of getting more fibre in their diet, for a host of health and wellbeing benefits, including cardiovascular, immunity, skin and gut health,” said Dr Kavita Karnik, global head, Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs at Tate & Lyle.
“Microbiome research has advanced significantly in the last decade, but there are still many questions to be answered in this area.
“Understanding how different prebiotic fibres can interact with the functioning of our microbiome will take us one step deeper into understanding how microbiomes can impact various aspects of our health and wellbeing.”
A thorough understanding
Tate & Lyle forged its partnership with APC Microbiome Ireland in 2019 to identify the potential health benefits of dietary fibres for specific age groups. APC Microbiome Ireland is ranked number one globally for research in antimicrobial and therapeutic microbes and is in the top five institutions in the world for microbiome research.
Dr Harriët Schellekens and Prof Gerard Clarke, investigators for APC’s Brain-Gut-Microbiota research, are leading the new project, which will be conducted at APC Microbiome Ireland’s labs at the University College Cork.
Prof Paul Ross, director of APC Microbiome Ireland, said the new project will give an opportunity for APC clinical and microbiome researchers to gain a thorough understanding of how fibre ingestion can benefit health through the microbiome.
“As such, it will enable Tate & Lyle to further uncover additional health benefits associated with their fibres portfolio,” said Prof Ross.
Added Dr Karnik, “As a science-driven company, we are excited to continue working with APC Microbiome Ireland to build our knowledge and increase the evidence base around the positive role fibres can play in improving public health.”
Tate & Lyle has a 60-year history of ingredient innovation in sweetening, mouthfeel and fortification, developing solutions that reduce sugar, calories and fat, add fibre and provide texture and stability to bakery, beverages, dairy, soups, sauces and dressings.
The listed company has a 3,500-strong workforce in 60 locations across 39 countries, and posted revenues of £1.4bn for the year ended 31 March 2022.