Tate & Lyle extends dietary fibre research collaboration with APC Microbiome Ireland

Tate & Lyle, a global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, has announced the extension of its partnership with APC Microbiome Ireland, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre, through a new two-year research project to increase understanding of how dietary fibres can impact the functioning of the gut microbiome.

Research has shown that dietary fibres can have prebiotic effects, feeding “good” bacteria in the gut, and promoting a healthy composition of the microbiome. A diverse and 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.

In this new research project, which will be funded by Tate & Lyle, APC Microbiome Ireland will look at the metabolic pathways that could affect the relationship between the microbiome and health. The project will 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. Additional insights are expected from the project into how different prebiotic fibres can have a positive effect on health and the most plausible metabolic pathways to explore them further.

Dr Harriët Schellekens and Prof Gerard Clarke, investigators for APC’s brain-gut-microbiota research, are leading the project which will be conducted at APC Microbiome Ireland’s labs in University College Cork.

This new project follows a previous research collaboration between Tate & Lyle and APC Microbiome Ireland, announced in 2019, which screened dietary fibres to identify potential health benefits for specific age groups and found some positive effects of these fibres.

APC Microbiome Ireland is a leading global microbiome institute and a global leader in most aspects of microbiome science. Based at University College Cork and Teagasc, 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 Kavita Karnik, global head of nutrition and regulatory affairs at Tate & Lyle, said: “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. 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.

“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.”

Prof Paul Ross, director APC at Microbiome Ireland, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Tate & Lyle following the success of our previous collaboration. This 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 the project will enable Tate & Lyle to further uncover additional health benefits associated with their fibres portfolio.”