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We speak about the microbiome and the transformation of food systems at the 47th INIA Forum

Marc Viñas during the presentation

IRTA took part in the 47th INIA Forum on the Public-Private Collaboration “Microbiota and its relation to Food Systems” by way of its researchers, Dr Marc Viñas, Dr Yuliaxis Ramayo and Dr Virginia Aragón, at an event taking place on Thursday 11 April at the headquarters of the INIA in Madrid.

The aim of this forum is to foster the exchange of knowledge and put public research groups in contact with the private production and commercial sectors.

Researcher Marc Viñas, as the director of the microbiome transversal activity, gave a speech as part of the forum’s section on soil and plants entitled “Studies on Microbiota in the IRTA for improving the sustainability of the agri-food industry“. There he presented the different lines of research and projects under way in the Integral Management of Organic Waste Programme, underscoring the interest in carrying out microbiota studies within a context of environmental sustainability, also stressing the importance of the collaboration between the IRTA’s scientific programmes and other research centres.

Researchers Yuliaxis Ramayo Caldas (from the Animal Breeding Genetics Programme) and Virginia Aragón (from the Animal Health Programme) also gave their speeches as part of the forum’s stockbreeding section, respectively entitled “Nasal Microbiome and swine respiratory illnesses” and “Intestinal and genetic microbiota of the host: joint contribution to the development and sustainability of animal production”.

In the “Punto de encuentro” section of the INIA Forum website, you will find a summary of the main activities, interests and projects related to the different scientific programmes of the IRTA involved in research activities and/or knowledge transfer regarding the subject of microbiota-microbiome.

In this post we briefly explain what the Microbiome is and we talk about the creation of the Microbiome Transversal Activity of the IRTA

Main conclusions of the INIA Forum

Regarding the first section “Domestic and EU Strategies“, it was made clear that there is a great deal of activity that features the subject of microbiota study in agri-food systems and the environment, and importance was given to approaching this challenge through multidisciplinary teams.

It was also mentioned that various H2020 strategic projects have been launched, such as Microbiome Support and CIRCLES, which will be influential within Food2030. The future importance of regulatory aspects in terms of probiotics and biostimulant agents for agri-systems was also emphasised, making it necessary to establish a holistic strategy as to assessing the risks based on the knowledge of the microbiota.

As for the section on “New tools”, mention was made on the appearance of new sequencing technologies, such as the ongoing improvement of nanopore sequencing, and computation data analysis related to the microbiome that will promote the access, management and interpretation of data regarding microbiota and microbiome studies.

In the “Soil and plant” section of the forum, the use of microbiota studies was highlighted as a new approach to finding crop management solutions, as well as reducing the use of phytosanitary measures and encouraging the management of organic waste to be used as fertilisers within the concepts of the circular economy and bio-economy. Good opportunities for research and knowledge transfers are expected with the development of new products (biostimulants and biofertilisers) for agriculture.

As part of the “Stockbreeding” section, great importance was given to the use and definition of different animal models so as to also understand the modulation of human microbiota. The computational component of this area will be highly important and essential to being able to take on studies with large numbers of animals and identify new molecular markers. Environmental sustainability and animal welfare will have greater and greater weight in regulatory aspects, where knowledge of the microbiome and microbiota will be of great use.

Finally, in the “Food Technology” section, great importance was given to the development and commercialisation of fermented foods, with the objective that they become part of healthy and socially acceptable diets. Emphasis was placed on the need to ensure greater traceability in microbial processes during the transformation of foods and once these are sold.