The TNO in vitro model of the colon: a sophisticated tool to study the effect of food and pharmaceuticals on the gut microbiota
About the session
The human gut microbiota affects human metabolism, while at the same time, our nutrient intake affects the microbes in the human gut. To study how food and pharmaceutical compounds impact the human gut microbiota, sophisticated, dynamic and computer-controlled in vitro models of the gastrointestinal tract have been developed. The colon model mimics the physiological parameters in the large intestine and uses a standardized microbiota to investigate the microbial composition and activity in a mechanistic manner. For this, we isolate the genomic DNA from fresh and frozen fecal samples, soil, fruits and vegetables since they contain microbes that can potentially colonize our gut. Our work focuses on the modulation of a healthy microbiota with the aim of providing dietary advice to customers on how to improve their health.
Koen Venema is i) Professor at University Maastricht - campus Venlo, ii) founder and CEO of Beneficial Microbes® Consultancy, iii) founder and CEO of Beneficial Bugs BV, iv) CMO of InnerBuddies, v) organizer of the Beneficial Microbes Conference-series, and vi) editor-in-chief of Beneficial Microbes.
He received his PhD from the University of Groningen, on the antimicrobial activity of bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in 1995. He pursued the health-beneficial activity of these microbes as a Post-Doc at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA, where he studied the potential of LAB to function as carrier for vaccines. Thereafter, he was employed by the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) for > 15 years, where he used the sophisticated, dynamic, computer-controlled in vitro models of the gastro-intestinal tract (nick-named TIM) to study the effect of functional foods and drugs on the colonic microbiota. Since Sept. 01, 2014 he runs a newly established research group at Maastricht University – campus Venlo at the Centre for Healthy Eating & Food Innovation, where he continues to use the TNO in vitro models. Here the focus is on the effects of dietary components on the composition and activity of the gut microbiota, and through this on the (digestive) health of the host. He holds a chair in Gut Microbiology since Nov 2015.