HoloFood is an Innovation Action that started in January. Like all Innovation Actions of its type HoloFood is comprised of many work packages and has many targets to reach. We have an ambitious plan to achieve, so from the beginning we started almost immediately with our large experimental trials from which we will build the rest of our project.
These trials consist of rearing multiple chicken or salmon in controlled settings; giving different groups of these animals different dietary supplements (probiotics or prebiotics for chicken, and seaweed or natural protein sources for salmon) together with control groups that have regular feed with no additives. Everything needs to be very tightly regulated, as the slightest deviation or change may have a significant impact on the microbiome and the animal. All the trials need to be repeated a number of times and different stages of the animal's development also need to accounted for.
Setting up these experimental trials is by no means easy. Fortunately, HoloFood has professional partners in both the poultry industry (IRTA and Chr.Hansen) and the salmon industry (Lerøy and IMR) who lead the implementation of our chicken and salmon experiments. Together with partners from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), the Norwegian University of Science and technology (NTNU) and Frei Universität Berlin (FUB), large sampling operations have been taking place throughout the summer. These trials can involve many teams working around the clock - particularly during sampling time. We are incredibly grateful and lucky to have many people involved in HoloFood getting the job done and still smiling at the end of it!
Boxes and sampling tubes need to be labelled and prepared correctly in advance for 1000s of samples. Following this teams travel to Spain or Norway and help out in workstations - this can be from cleaning tools correctly to avoid contamination between samples, to sampling specific parts of the animal and storing them correctly. These steps are essential for downstream laboratory and data analysis work that will continue between the HoloFood partners.
Once our trials are completed samples will be distributed between HoloFood partners for the next stage of our project : data generation. Data generation for HoloFood means going into the lab to generate data (such as genetic; metabolomic or other) from the samples. This data will then be analysed for understanding how the microbiome and the animal interact and react to their diets, forming the basis of the HoloFood solution!