A new project comprising thirty organisations from fifteen countries has started working together to study the microorganisms in our intestines and the role they play in health, well-being, and how they can help prevent diet- and brain-related diseases. The project receives funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Program and has partners from EU and non-EU countries.
Gut microbiota are the microbe populations living in our intestines, which contain trillions of microorganisms, including at least one thousand different species of bacteria. Altogether, the microbiota can weigh up to two kilograms. One third of our gut microbiota is common across most people, while two thirds are specific to each of us. In other words, the microbiota in your intestine is analogous to a personal identity card.
"Our challenge is to provide a proof of concept that dietary interventions with food and ingredients designed to modulate the gut microbiota can contribute to controlling and reducing the incidence of diet-related diseases, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and behavioural disorders - epidemics in our developed society," said Yolanda Sanz, MyNewGut's project coordinator.
MyNewGut, officially launched in December 2013 is a five-year multidisciplinary project studying the gut microbiota, its genome (or microbiome) and their roles in human physiology. Organisations around the world have been working in this field for many years. But, this is the first time an EU-supported initiative has brought together such a unique consortium of world-leading experts from various scientific and industrial disciplines, in order to investigate the microbiome's influence on human health and disease.