HoloFood - Unlocking a Holo-Omic framework for food production
HoloFood is a 'hologenomic' approach that will improve the efficiency of food production systems by understanding the biomolecular and physiological processes affected by incorporating feed additives and novel sustainable feeds in farmed animals.
The HoloFood consortium will showcase the potential of an innovative solution that holds enormous potential for optimising modern food production. Specifically, HoloFood is a framework that integrates a suite of recent analytical and technological developments, that is applicable to any major animal food production system, spanning the full production line.
Thus it is as relevant for the farmers producing livestock, as it is to the associate industries such as those producing the feed and feed additives upon which the animal’s growth, quality, health and wellbeing depends.
HoloFood is a Horizon2020 Innovation Action, comprising of 11 organisations from across Europe
The holo-omic approach considers the holobiont (host animal and its associated microbiota) as a single unit of action, across multiple molecular levels.
This approach enables us to move beyond simply showing that feed affects the physical make-up of an animal (for example growth, quality, health, welfare or even gut microbiome community structure), but to actually understanding how the feed, host and microbes interact to yield these differences in animals.
The Animal Models for HoloFood
We will use two critically important farmed animal systems as our models – salmon and chicken – and use the newly developed holo-omic framework to characterize not only their associated gut microorganisms’ whole genomes, transcriptomes and metabolomes, but also their genomes, intestinal transcriptomes and intestinal immune processes, all in relation to production performance parameters and animal welfare.
HoloFood will analyse the impact of the interactions between feed additives (probiotic and prebiotic), gut microorganisms and host animals over relevant performance parameters, under three different commercially relevant feeding regimes.
HoloFood will experiment with a novel functional feed component, (seaweed), and a novel protein source as a new sustainable alternative to fish meal.
HoloFood’s overall objective is to implement a timely technological solution based on cutting-edge biomolecular research in the food industry, which will:
1. Optimise animal food production systems by improving different stages of the production line.
2. Showcase the benefits of understanding the feed-microbiome-animal interactions through the application of state-of-the-art scientific methods to the food production sector and the general public.
The knowledge generated will be used to optimise the feed additive strategies implemented in food production, by tailoring them to the genetic background and developmental stage of the animals, as well as production environment.
In doing so we will improve the quantity, quality and safety of the produced food, as well as increase the sustainability of food production and animal welfare.
The ambition of the HoloFood solution is to create a versatile framework that can be applied in theory to any food production system that relies on the co-interaction of animals and their gut microorganisms.