Finding Sustainable Sources of Nutrition
In 2019, EPFL and ETH Zurich have launched Future Food – A Swiss Research Initiative (“Future Food Initiative”) together with Swiss food industry leaders Bühler, Givaudan and Nestlé. The goal of the initiative is to expand research and education in the area of food and nutrition sciences to develop solutions that address grand challenges of the current food systems. The program is co-managed by the Integrative Food and Nutrition Center at EPFL and the World Food System Center at ETH Zurich.
Future Food Initiative provides opportunities to educate and train new talent around the food value chain by leveraging the complementary strengths of the Swiss academic and industrial research communities.
The last call of the Future Food Initiative was directly addressed to professors and senior researchers at EPFL and ETH Zürich on the following topics:
- Sustainable and nutritious lipids
- Solutions for affordable nutrition in LMIC
- Relationship between nutrition & microbiome
- Processing of plant proteins
Today we are pleased to announce the projects newly funded by the Initiative:
The influence of dietary lipids at weaning on adipose tissue expandability
Prof. Bart Deplancke and Dr Carles Canto Alvarez, EPFL, Laboratory of Systems Biology and Genetics
In humans, body fat can vary widely, from normal levels between 10-30% to >70% in severe obesity. Excess fat mass strongly correlates with metabolic, respiratory and cardiovascular complications. We anticipate that this work will be able to provide us with nutrients that could be used to modulate the ability to store fat through hyperplastic, instead of hypertrophic mechanisms, potentially protecting against long-term metabolic ailments. Furthermore, we anticipate that this project may also identify circulating molecular markers and/or microbiome signatures that may allow us to predict which individuals are more at risk of metabolic complications upon body weight gain.
Refining of pea and rapeseed protein using Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents
Prof. Alexander Mathys & Dr Joseph Dumpler, ETHZ, Sustainable Food Processing
The project aims at a fundamental understanding of the extraction of antinutrients from two protein-rich agricultural byproducts, pea protein concentrate as well as rapeseeds and rapeseed press cake, to recover purified plant proteins using a novel class of solvents, food grade Natural Eutectic Solvents (NADES). The suggested research approach has the potential to significantly reduce color, bitte, sharp, and astringent off-tastes of plant protein as compared to aqueous extraction. The Project will enable an innovative ‘green chemistry’ approach to refine plant proteins from underutilized protein-rich agricultural (by-)products.
Elucidating mechanisms of probiotic function through transcriptional recording
Prof. Randall J. Platt & Dr Katherine Guzzetta, ETHZ, Laboratory for Biological Engineering
Trillions of microorganisms reside in the mammalian gastrointestinal tract, where they play crucial roles in digesting, metabolizing, and releasing nutrients for their host. The immense potential of the gut microbiome to modulate multiple aspects of health and disease, as well as its accessibility, has fueled an expanding global market for novel probiotics. Through this Project we aim to characterize mechanisms by which nutritional interventions influence the establishment and functional ability of probiotic bacteria in the gut in a non-invasive manner.
The program has funded 12 diverse projects. Learn more about Future Food Initiative here.