Paolo Manzelli pmanzelli.lre@gmail.com


How does the Future of Nutrition for the ‘man if he is understood as a “super body” in symbiosis between the complex genetic system of intestinal bacteria (microbiome) and its genome.

The Horizon Project Future of Nutrition studied the human biological system for the digestion of food, taking into account recent advances in knowledge about the “microbiome” of the gut bacteria, that digest food and absorb nutrients, just in order to change the perspective and guidelines of the past about the relationship between diet and health.

Today, nutrition is brought back to ‘ancient idea of Hippocrates of Cos who consider “food as a cure.” The contemporary nutrition in industrialized countries, cannot ‘more’ to be fundamentally related only to energy needs of biological sustainability of life, but it will be geared specifically toward improving overall mental and physical health and well-being.

The orientation to the future of FUHONU, is therefore aimed at preventive nutrition of diseases resulting from malnutrition in industrialized countries , aimed a) to decrease medical –cure expenses (as a basic objective the KBBE 2020), and then b) in the ‘intent to promote an offer new food to avoid the production of “Junk Food” clearly putting to companies the idea to cooperate with the research in food –nutrition for getting alternative of food production with  high nutritional quality.

The goal to become able to extend the scenario “food-healthy” will be oriented to  using a wider’s supply of new nutrients emerging  opportunities seen in terms of innovation and development of new foods giving particular reference to the pre-probiotic  and functional foods  and nutraceuticals.

These are the hallmarks of the FUHONU project objectives, paying particular attention to the issues about the quality and sustainability (economic and environmental)  of future food production deduced from a more close relationship between research and innovation enterprises.

Objectives and Concepts .

We live in a global market era in which deep changes in socioeconomic status, cultural traditions, population growth, and agriculture are affecting diets worldwide. Understanding how  diet and new food products can prevent nutritional status focusing the factors  influencing the composition and dynamic operations of humangut microbiome, and its effects on the development of diet related diseases including the alteration of the  innate and adaptive arms of our immune system, represents an area of scientific need, opportunity and challenge of the Future Horizon of Nutrition (FUHONU)

The FUNONU Project will advance our understanding of the beneficial and harmful dietary factors underlying the connection between microbiota and health, to prevent the occurrence of diet-related diseases and disorders, including the detrimental effects on central brain. It will also demonstrate the interactive communication between the enteric nervous system and the gut microbiome for favouring  a  long healthy life.

The increase in knowledge on the effects of appropriate diets from the FUNONU research will considerably contribute to an improved understanding of the link between preventable diet-related diseases and the need to maintaining a healthy gut microbiome homeostasis for  the  promotion of health and an active population.

To demonstrate the role of a healthy Human Gut Microbiome is a major goal  in  health promotion and disease prevention. The FUHONU Consortium  will undertake  appropriate epidemiological studies and preclinical trials to identify risk factors for physical and mental metabolic diseases the result of which will be widely  disseminatedto modify social and individual behavior to lower their disease risk.

Diets and microbiome

Diet is a major factor  which influences the dynamic microbiome. Therefore diets and their customization will be at the centre of the  FUHONU project in order to better understand the ability of the microbiome in   the  metabolism and absorption of  food components with high nutritional activities. Current research increasingly recognizes the human gut microbiome  as a metabolically active  ‘biological digester’, as it plays an essential role in the regulation of the metabolome-host relationships. A healthy gut microbiome is necessary to achieve an effective energy balance through the selection and production of biologically active molecules that would otherwise be expelled from the intestinal tract without obtaining any benefits from symbiotic “man-bacteria”. A healthy microbiome is an essential support of the host’s metabolism, expanding the availability of nutrients, releasing energy through the fermentation of compounds such as  the short chain fatty acids (eg acetate, propionate, butyrate, isobutyrate, isovalerate, ),  organic acids (for example, succinate, pyruvate, fumarate, lactate), as well as amino acids, uracil, trimethylamine, ethanol, glycerol, glucose, phenolic acids, cast, and also lipid components obtained from polyphenols and non-digestible oligosaccharides which are useful to develop a variously modulated absorption of nutrients. It is widely recognised that short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are the main metabolic products of the anaerobic fermentation bacteria, and they can be considered as an important source of energy for humans, used by colonocytes (colonic epithelial cells), the liver and muscles.

The high variability observed between inter- and intra-individual microbiomes leads to  a versatile absorption of useful nutrients which are derived from the possible variability in metabolite concentrations rather than  metabolite composition. The above demonstrates that the diversity of the composition of the flora of the intestinal tract (GI) enables  the best general biochemical characteristics of the primary metabolism within the gastrointestinal tract,  leading to the  metabolism of  different substrates through specific enzymatic activities and complementary  metabolic pathways.

The role of diets in diet-related diseases.

The FUHONU consortium will make an important advancement in the  very challenging issues    surrounding our understanding of the microbiota in human health and disease. The state of the art in this field is dominated by studies on the relationshop between  the composition of the dynamic microbiome to  varying diets. Currently the functional analysis of the gut microbiome is primarily oriented to studying the relationship between metabolic symbiosis and dysbiosis, as this causes alterations in the immune system.

The above approach is receiving increasing attention in nutritional research for the prevention of diet-related diseases, such as metabolic syndrome and obesity and other co-morbidities. Consequently further  research on the microbiome,  requires a multidisciplinary approach based on studies on the metabolism of the GI which are analyzed using  in vitro simulation, animal models and in dietary studies in humans. This multi-pronged approach will be implemented by the FUHONU project and will focus on the  impact a number of food components (Food-Kits) which are metabolized by certain bacterial strains. The expected results will lead to  the recognition of biomarkers as a pre-requisite in  understanding how it is possible to reshape the functionality gut microbiome,prevent metabolic diseases and additionally maintaining our health at all stages of life.

The effects of dietary modulation of the microbiome on brain development and behavior.

Like all animals and plants, human have an establish symbiotic relationship with microorganisms, and the combined genetic information of the diverse microbiota greatly exceeds that of the host. The FUHONU project aims to contribute to understanding how, as a direct result of the symbiotic fitness, the genetic contribution of the bacterial flora  effects  our  brain and behavior. This will be obtained by studying  the complex interaction between the brain and the microbiome modulation, through  dietary tests suitable for the promotion of a healthy life of the holobiont; that is the host and  associated microorganisms.

Colonization by the human microbiota is an evolutionary-favoured process. It is a  guided ‘biocenosis’,  modulated by the release of neurotransmitters from  the enteric brain such as tryptophan, serotonin, etc, that are capable of activating the complex communication system that uses biological Peptises YY (PYY), endocannabinoid ligands and ghrelin. It is well known that the exchange of bidirectional signals between the central nervous system (CNS) including the brain  and the enteric nervous system (ENS) is required to  control the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. It also  has a considerable impact on the variation in the energy balance and is also capable of interacting with hormones and the immune system. This complex bio-communication is known as the “brain-gut axis” and is vital to maintaining metabolic homeostasis and the maturation of a Healthy Gut Microbiome from birth to ageing, interacting with both the immune and endocrine systems. Conversely, the mismatch of microbial symbiosis (dysbiosis) can compromise these bio-signals and result in  altered psycho-physiological states. These  include from the central brain, the dysregulation of certain areas of neurotransmission producing behavioral responses such as depression stress, anxiety, and due the  other side of the brain enteric, correlatively to dysbiosis including visceral pain, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as well as obesity, cancer and diabetes, and allergies.

The FUHONU project will lead to a new food strategy that can combine the modulation of the microbiota  with brain functionin order to better understandnormal and pathological conditions. This will result in further  epidemiological studies and clinical tests which will open new frontiers in  an improved understanding of  a healthy microbiome,  produce demonstrable  effects in a non-stressful manner  that is related to ageing , the physical activity and other factors related to optimized lifestyles that correlate diet and wellness, considering where appropriate gender issues.

Finally, the FUHONU project aims to critically evaluate both the psychological and therapeutic opportunities derived from this research in order to verify in particular whether attention in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome can be an effective strategy also for the management of degenerative disorders of the central nervous system and therefore will reflect the difficulties inherent in this approach. Despite the considerable challenges that await us in the planned four years of the FUHONU project , we believe that this is a very timely area of future research on the prevention of health and wellness which is expected  to remain the center of attention for a long time to come.

Diet, Microbiome and Pre- Probiotics.

Humans and microbes are related by an inseparable symbiosis, which affects the lives of human beings from birth to old age. The Healthy Gut Microbiome, is the complex ecosystem of the microbial flora which is  sensitive to many environmental stresses, such as acidity, oxygen and heat as well as drugs and antibiotics. So it is important that extrinsic factors do not perturb the microbiome beyond  the natural resilience of the symbiont. Such loss in resilience would in turn disturb the interactive communication   between microbe-microbe and host-microbe. These interactions influence various aspects of host physiology and psychological behavior


In some cases, the use of probiotics as food supplements has been a  useful approach to restoring and maintaining the microbiome homeostasis. Probiotics have been  known since ancient times, when various fermented products were widely used as food. Pre- and probiotics added as symbiotic food and supplements in diets may alter the metabolism and other functions of the human intestinal microbiota, implementing their influence on health.

Recent studies on pre- and probiotics have broadened the spectrum of different micro-organisms considered as probiotics which can be widely used in food and medicines. More recently, recombinant molecular technology has been applied to probiotics to encourage the development of new functional approaches in preventive health care.

Currently there is renewed interest in the  the application of pre- and probiotics in the diet. This coincides with the need to augment or replace antibiotics whose side effects are detrimental to  the homeostasis of microbiome, additionally, the effectiveness of antibiotics is declining because of the increase in microbial resistance to them.

Functional probiotics can be used alongside antibiotic therapy to reduce the harmful effects, and this warrents further  research for improve antibiotic efficacy, for instance  enhanced mucosal immunity of the intestinal barrier to optimize health benefits.

As a result of such knowledge and outputs the project FUHONU aims to lead and support modern scientific research on pre-and probiotics, especially in terms of European collaboration between science and industry innovation.

An approach of “open innovation” to functional food supplements, both in research and production methods, will be undertaken  in collaboration with industrial stakeholders throughout the FUHONU work program. This is in order to achieve the ‘Health in Europe 2020’, implementing the Innovation platform for healthy promotion and prevention .

Finally, we will communicate the guidelines for the optimized  application  of pre-probiotics.  These  will be broadcast using communication networks in ITC, including information in the healthy scientifically validated and proven safety and functionality and vitality, such as high rates of survival in foods during storage or long-term survival in the upper gastrointestinal tract or the high viability of target action in the intestine. This dissemination activity will also support the legislation on health and nutrition claims.



Diets – Microbiome Research:  Knowledge Dissemination


Achieving a higher level of health protection’ for all European citizens has been a clear aim of the FUHONU Project .It is well recognized that high levels of physical and mental health and wellbeing are the foundations for other dimensions of European 2020 citizenship, including economic success ,social and cultural skills, active working life and a healthy old age.

The FUHONU consortium will contribute to rethink to public health by advancing in knowledge dissemination in order to emphasize prevention of public health on the basis of new scientific concepts between nutrition and health care.

Till now public health behavioral measures of promotion such as diffusing hints and tips for a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, … etc.. are important but are not enough to maintain a healthy population.

Cost effective investments in healthcare innovations nowadays can become more accessible to all citizens by means improving higher cognitive levels through an FUHONU platform co-organized by the partners to benefit from the healthy gut Microbiome research and from its impact on knowledge innovation.

With the increasing incidence of intestinal-related metabolic diseases and co-morbidities as allergies, and food intolerances, there is a growing awareness by the public for alternative methods to improve and sustaining general health. Therefore as the FUHONU contribution increases  about the sadvancemed  knowledge of food/bacteria/host interactions, it is becoming clear that there is enormous potential in the development of functional foods.

To maximize the potential health benefits from functional foods, it is essential that we develop a deeper dissemination about recent research about  (i) how diet impacts bacterial activity to the digesta; (ii) how diet impacts the bacterial colonization of the large bowel; and (iii) how bacteria work in a bacterial film consortia to degrade food particles.

So that will be a great expectation to the KBBE   impact of the dissemination of the  FUHONU program both development and results . will enhance a conscious health criteria to the general public in Europe and at the international level ,  in order to be informed people to utilize of advanced knowledge to get an Healthy gut Microbiome and also in order to improve an higher impact to the companies productivity of food quality and pre-probiotic’s  and functional food’s fortification.


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