Only last month June 2017 Chr. Hansen announced that we had expanded our strain collection for next generation probiotics from the human microbiome by 100 well-characterized strains – safety assessed and amendable for production and formulation into commercial products.
This constitutes a major milestone in the advancement of science in this exciting field.
Bacteria from the human microbiome - the trillions of microbes that flourish in and on the human body – have a profound impact on our physiology. It can be part of the reason why people get sick or, conversely, what helps them stay healthy.
Entering into a disruptive period in healthcare
“We keep learning more about how the human microbiome actively influences our physical health and potentially even our mental health. There is great potential in obtaining a better understanding of the beneficial bacteria that reside in our gut and in creating the proper conditions for them to work in our favor,” explains Johan van Hylckama Vlieg, VP, Microbiome ＆ Human Health Innovation, Chr. Hansen.
“I truly believe we are entering into a disruptive period in healthcare at large, both in terms of how we think about preventive solutions but also treatments and cures. Maybe one day we’ll look at healthcare before and after the human microbiome – in the same way as when antibiotics completely changed the scene!”
Solving safety and industrialization challenges
Developing human microbiome bacterial strains as next generation probiotics for Food, Dietary Supplement, Infant and Pharma applications, presents unique challenges. Many of the relevant species have no history of commercialization. They were until recently described as difficult to cultivate and require radically new techniques for cultivation and production since they cannot tolerate oxygen.
The 100 new strains in the Chr. Hansen strain collection have been screened for safety and their ability to grow in production media [a substance designed to support the growth of microorganisms].
“Our safety assessment includes screening for absence of antibiotic resistance and virulence factors [molecules produced by bacteria that increase their capacity to infect or damage human tissues].
We also looked for their ability to grow in industrial media and sensitivity to oxygen. And we also screened for the ability of strains to impact the immune system,” explains Gemma Henderson, Senior Scientist.
“Now we have a shortlisted selection of strains that we believe will be of major interest to innovators in the microbiome space, who are looking to develop next generation probiotics and live biotherapeutics. It is our goal to help our customers and partners move these new documented strains from the lab to the clinic,” concludes Henderson.
The work has been carried out in partnership between Chr. Hansen and three academic institutes – Gut Health, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen; Host-Microbe Interactomics, Wageningen University and Research; and Medical Microbiology, UMCG, University of Groningen.