WGS is a laboratory technique that involves determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome. “The concept was pioneered in the 1970s, but until the advent of high-order technologies in the early 2000s, the technique was low-cost and quickly implemented and widely used.”Guri explained.
In the year In 2018, the European Union Commission launched the EU 1 Million Genomes Project, an ambitious initiative aimed at creating a common data platform for one million sequences of the human genome. Whole-genome sequencing technologies have revolutionized food safety, allowing manufacturers to accurately trace the entry and distribution chains of pathogens and spoilage organisms in food production.
“When pathogens or spoilage organisms are found in a food sample, the exact strain and subtype can be identified by sequencing the entire genome and comparing it to databases of known pathogen and spoilage genomes.”Dr. Guri said. “By comparing the genomes of different samples, researchers can identify common genetic markers and mutations, allowing them to track the spread of the body and identify the source of contamination.”.
WGS also enables the identification of foodborne diseases by comparing the genomes of pathogens isolated from different individuals. In addition to tracking the transmission chains of pathogens and spoilage organisms in food production, WGS enables food manufacturing facilities to monitor the microbiome, identify sources of contamination and help producers take proactive steps to prevent the spread of harmful organisms.
The potential of these technologies goes beyond food safety.
However, Dr. Guri told us that the potential of these modern technologies in the food production sector will continue to expand. Pioneering scientists and food manufacturers have recently begun applying sophisticated genome sequencing techniques to engineer food supplements with powerful health benefits. Whole-genome sequencing can be used to develop and produce foods with unique flavors, allowing scientists to identify and isolate microorganisms that produce beneficial compounds. “This information can be used to develop food products and additives that improve the production of microbial compounds.” he said. “Knowledge and insights gained from the genetic mapping process have enabled the creation of holistic and personalized nutritional supplement products designed to improve specific health outcomes.”.
Dr. Gurry describes himself as a mathematical and systems biologist interested in the translational application of the human gut microbiome, combining experimental and computational methods to explore the fermentation capabilities of patient microbiota to optimize health outcomes. This knowledge has been transplanted into health-tech startup myota.
Gut health screening to ‘identify your microbiome’.
“Sequencing an individual’s genome allows scientists to identify genetic variations that may influence nutrient metabolism or other health-related conditions,” the founder continued. This knowledge can be used to create food products and supplement formulas tailored to specific nutritional needs or health concerns. Myota, for example, makes fiber blends that improve one’s gut and adapt, amid extensive research now showing multiple links between a healthy gut microbiome and our body’s ability to fight and reverse chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, COPD, arthritis, and IBD). Your overall health depends on helping your gut microbiome produce more short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
The UK-based startup has used what it describes as breakthrough research into the functioning of gut bacteria to develop a patented microbiome self-test kit. Users of the £300 package are given an unparalleled insight into the unique composition and health of their gut bacteria. The company says that for the first time, the test results reveal the types of fiber preferred by the subject’s microbiome, providing a roadmap to improve health and activity.
Following online ordering and home delivery, users are provided with a kit and instructions to collect a small stool sample from a toilet paper. The sample is sent to a lab, where the trillions of gut bacteria are sequenced and a detailed report is made.
Users receive a personalized gut microbiome report, including the unique composition, diversity and ability of their microbiome to ferment fiber and how this compares to the average for their age group and gender.
“This new test kit provides an accessible opportunity for anyone to begin their gut health journey. Until you understand which types of fiber your own microbiome is specific for digesting, it’s impossible to know how to adapt your diet for optimal health.Dr. Guri said. “This kit, along with the support of our in-house nutritionist – takes the guesswork out of it.”.
The process seems to be intensive. However, home microbiome testing is on track to be one of the fastest growing health trends of 2023. For example, health startup Daye recently raised $10 million from investors to launch the world’s first tampon-based at-home vaginal microbiome testing platform, and Secutial Skin recently released its skin microbiome testing kit.
“Advances in sequencing technologies allow for more in-depth analysis of the genetic material in the human gut, increasing cost-effectiveness and tailoring dietary choices to the individual.”Dr. Guri continued.
For example, prebiotic fiber is an essential part of a healthy human diet as it is fermented by the gut microbiome to produce SCAs, which are essential for maintaining health and preventing many chronic diseases – including type 2 diabetes. It has been proven to help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis and diabetes
However, because different gut bacteria prefer different types of prebiotic fiber, many people do not consume enough of the ‘right’ prebiotic fiber for their health. “In order to accurately predict the data in a microbiome sample, it is necessary to understand the genome of each bacterium present in the microbiome. With this understanding, the specific genes responsible for producing SCFAs and breaking down prebiotics can be identified.”The CEO observed.
“By developing a supplement that provides all the essential types of prebiotic fiber that an individual’s microbiome needs, it is possible to optimize SCFA production for each individual and provide the associated mental and physical benefits. This takes the guesswork out of gut health and provides a personalized solution to gut health.”.
Fully substantiated claims cure ‘healthy bathing’.
In the complete functional food market, meanwhile, biotechnologically-supported products stand out with fully substantiated health-improving claims, the scientist believes.
Consumers are tired of product marketing ‘hype’ and ‘overblown, unproven benefits’. So the time has come for products made using insights from genome sequencing, he says. “This is a disruptive opportunity; products developed using insights from genome sequencing will benefit from extensive clinical research and proven evidence to support their effectiveness.” .
“As we learn more about the relationship between nutrition, health, longevity and chronic disease, the more evidence these products provide, the more compelling they will be to consumers and manufacturers.” .