Optimising food production is not only of commercial interest for companies, but with the planet’s population approaching the nine billion mark, also of critical importance for humanity. Animal food production can be optimised by modulating animal-associated microbiomes through the use of feed additives such as prebiotics and probiotics. Previously developed feed additives have not acknowledged the specific means of action of the additives on the microbiome and host organisms, and consequently i) their performance is inconsistent across animals with different genetic background and when grown under different environments, ii) improvement of feed additives is inefficient and costly, and iii) optimal solutions are unlikely to be found without taking a more holistic approach.
HoloFood showcases a holistic approach that will improve the efficiency of food production systems by deciphering the molecular and physiological processes triggered by feed additives across animals with different genetic background and grown under different environments. We will use two critically important farmed animal systems as our models -salmon and chicken- and characterise not only their associated microorganisms’ genomes, transcriptomes and metabolomes but also how the microbiome interacts with animals’ genomes and transcriptomes within the new holo-omic framework in relation to key performance indices and animal welfare issues.
The knowledge generated will be used to optimise feed additive administration strategies of already implemented products by tailoring them to the genetic background and developmental stage of the animals as well as production environment, to improve the quantity, quality and safety of the produced food, as well as sustainability of food production and animal welfare. HoloFood will also serve to raise awareness about the importance of microbiomes in food production, and to establish bridges between companies and academia to foster science-based strategies.