Beneficial exopolysaccharides to reduce infection and expedite recovery in humans and pigs of different ages


Antibiotics have been unpreceded in the combat against infectious diseases that threatened mankind for centuries, but prolonged exposure causes multidrug-resistance. To reduce antibiotics-use and to support recovery of human and livestock after inevitable antibiotic treatments of infectious disease, we propose to apply or stimulate production of beneficial exopolysaccharides (EPS) by gut microbiota. Depending on its chemical structure, EPS can support microbial colonization, immunity, prevent pathogen adhesion, and recovery after infections. The central hypothesis is: beneficial exopolysaccharides or supporting gut-microbiota that produce specific beneficial EPS can reduce infection and support recovery of antibiotic treatment, and thereby contribute to mitigation of the antibiotic burden. The ultimate goal is to link specific EPS structures to certain beneficial effects.
EPS from beneficial bacteria (e.g. Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) will be isolated, characterized, synthesized and enzymatically modified to be able to study function-effector relationships. EPS molecules will be tested in vitro for effects on (i) microbiota of different age classes from humans and pigs under antibiotics burden, (ii) prevention of pathogenic adhesion of the model organisms Salmonella enterica Typhimurium and E. coli, (iii) intestinal epithelial barrier-function, and (iv) immunity in complex co-cultures. Next, the effects of specific ingredients of industrial-partners (e.g. GOS, hMOs, resistant starches, pectin) on the microbial production of relevant EPS from humans and animal bacteria (eg Bifidobacteria) after antibiotics exposure will be assessed. The studies will be designed to gain insight into effector-function relationships of effective EPS to prevent pathogen invasion and expedite recovery after antibiotics exposure in humans and pigs.





Dr. M.T.C. Walvoort

Verbonden aan

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Stratingh Instituut voor Chemie


M. Ferrari


01/07/2018 tot 01/01/2022