Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Nutrition and microbial ecology of gastrointestinal tract

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.02.00  Biotechnical sciences  Animal production   
4.06.04  Biotechnical sciences  Biotechnology  Microbe biotechnology 

Code Science Field
B420  Biomedical sciences  Nutrition 

Code Science Field
4.02  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Animal and Dairy science 
4.04  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agricultural biotechnology 
nutrition, gut, rumen, microbial ecology, microbiota, microbiome, health, probiotics, animal products, organic waste, biogas production
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on July 16, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  345  6,968  6,270  18.17 
Scopus  394  8,180  7,393  18.76 
Researchers (33)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  19485  PhD Tomaž Accetto  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  180 
2.  08320  PhD Gorazd Avguštin  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  363 
3.  58523  Nurainina Binti Ayob  Animal production  Junior researcher  2023 - 2024 
4.  11150  PhD Bojana Bogovič Matijašić  Animal production  Head  2019 - 2024  395 
5.  15659  PhD Andreja Čanžek Majhenič  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  244 
6.  15561  PhD Matjaž Červek  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  88 
7.  11765  PhD Lijana Fanedl  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  109 
8.  17518  Marko Kodra    Technical associate  2019 - 2024 
9.  05624  Mojca Koman-Rajšp  Animal production  Technical associate  2019 - 2024  46 
10.  11889  PhD Andrej Lavrenčič  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  358 
11.  38145  PhD Jakob Leskovec  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  61 
12.  15194  PhD Alenka Levart  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  328 
13.  56499  Humna Liaqat  Animal production  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024  13 
14.  37703  PhD Luka Lipoglavšek  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  53 
15.  08404  PhD Romana Marinšek Logar  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  510 
16.  25516  PhD Petra Mohar Lorbeg  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  120 
17.  54727  Urška Murovec  Animal production  Junior researcher  2020 - 2024 
18.  33324  PhD Jernej Oberčkal  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2022 - 2024  44 
19.  28205  Tanja Obermajer    Technical associate  2019 - 2023  52 
20.  36376  PhD Diana Paveljšek  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  38 
21.  53637  Manca Pečjak  Animal production  Junior researcher  2019 - 2024  21 
22.  53279  Blaž Petek  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2024  16 
23.  15254  PhD Tatjana Pirman  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  559 
24.  20082  PhD Vida Rezar  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  350 
25.  08857  PhD Irena Rogelj  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2023  707 
26.  50598  PhD Vita Rozman  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  39 
27.  00886  PhD Janez Salobir  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  652 
28.  31910  PhD Primož Treven  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  78 
29.  56909  Nejc Valcl  Animal production  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024  11 
30.  39093  Beti Vidmar  Animal production  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  21 
31.  28851  PhD Maša Vodovnik  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  105 
32.  54595  Nika Založnik    Technical associate  2020 - 2023 
33.  17864  PhD Maša Zorec  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2024  72 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  67,237 
2.  0489  EMONA - Nutrition Research & Development Department  Ljubljana  5326974000  214 
With the research foreseen in the program, we want to upgrade our achievements in the field of microbial ecology of gastrointestinal tract in conjunction with nutrition, health and the environment in which the group has been active for many years. The importance of human and animal nutrition is recognised for a long time, however, this research area experienced major breakthrough due to development of very powerful genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and transcriptomic technologies. In the first work package, we will study the degradation of plant and protein polymers by complex microbial communities, which inhabit human and ruminal intestine. Apart from the point of the host's metabolism, this topic is also interesting as a pathway to develop new enzymes for applications in food, biogas and biofuel industry, medicine and treatment technologies. We will give special attention to keratinases that are responsible for the processes of degradation of waste products in animal production (poultry feathers and sheep wool). Bacteria from the genus Prevotella are the major actors of degradation of plant polysaccharides. With the usage of transcriptomic studies, we intend to investigate the mechanisms of action of their hydrolytic enzyme systems in complex microbial communities. Development of advanced research methods has opened up new possibilities in understanding the links in the chain: animal nutrition for health of animals, people and the environment. Therefore, the second work package includes the research of the nutritional needs and effects of nutrients and plant bioactive substances in animals, from the point of view of digestion, intestinal microbiome, gastrointestinal health, metabolism, animal health and productivity, technological quality and nutritional value of animal products and emissions of substances into the environment. We will primarily focus on effects of plant bioactive substances and redefinition of needs for some antioxidants, fibres and essential fatty acids from the perspective of the interaction between nutrients, environment and metabolic programming in early life. The latter directly relates to studies in the third work package, which covers the studies of development of microbiota in early life, modulation of gastrointestinal microbial and metabolic interactions with probiotics and antibiotics in humans. Since our past research on infant microbiota showed that, the use of antibiotics is one of the most important factors in the development of intestinal microbiota. Furthermore, it is also associated with global problems of spreading antibiotic resistance. Thus, we will devote more attention to this problem by using resistomic approach. Not only expected results will contribute to a better knowledge of intestinal microbiome and links in the food, health and environment chain, they will also enable the development of new applications in animal husbandry, health care, therapies, food industry, biofuels and cleaning technologies.
Significance for science
The importance of the main research topic of the program group, established 15 years ago, which deals with nutrition in connection with microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract, has not been diminished. On the contrary, since high-throughput genomic, proteomic, metabolic and transcriptomic technologies have become available, this research area has experienced a real progress. Expected results, which contribute to a better knowledge of the gastrointestinal microbiome, open the door to new applications in animal husbandry, health care, therapies and environmental protection. The research team that will carry out the program in the next period brings together researchers of various profiles covering microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, food technology, nutrition, breeding of laboratory and domestic animals and physiology, which is an advantage and a good basis for achieving high quality research results. The planned studies of the nutritional requirements and effects of nutrients and bioactive substances isare? important because they introduce a new approach in determining the needs of animals, especially as regards the choice and combination of nutritional status markers, the combination of different parameters for assessment of requirements (eg for functional fibers) and environmental conditions, which affect the nutritional requirements. In addition, the study of metabolic programming using the animal model (chickens and their mothers), which represents a new approach, should also be highlighted. The results of the proposed research in the field of environment and environmental biotechnologies will contribute to the development of new and more efficient technologies for waste management in the agro-food sector, which will significantly contribute to the implementation of the circular economy, towards the zero waste management concept. Lignocellulosic waste and protein waste (waste poultry feathers and sheep wool) will be effectively transformed into products with a higher added value (biogas) or used as substrates for the production of products with higher added value, such as cellulases, hemicellulases and keratinase enzymes. In the past period, we have gained interesting findings on the mechanisms of activity of probiotics, which are diverse and still not sufficiently explainedstudied?, therefore we may expect some promising new achievements in this field of research. It should also be pointed out that studies of the establishment of intestinal microbiota in the early period of life, which has a significant impact on health in the adult period - these studies have been conducted in the framework of the program and one of the projects in the past period, andnow continue on the same subjects, children, now 6 years older, partly within the NUTRIPROTECT project, partly within the program. Such prospective projects are scarce, therefore the results obtained will be especiallyparticularly? valuable. We will also take advantage of the already established cooperation with key researchers in this field. We will also contribute to the development of science by developing or improving methods for molecular biological, genetic, genomic, transcriptomic and metabolic analyzes of biological samples derived from humans, animals and tissue cultures. Investigations of interactions in the digestive tract, as well as the analysis of bioactive food and feed ingredients, and the study of the effects of various nutritional and environmental factors on nutritional value and the quality of animal products require an integratedholistic? approach. Important results may also be expected in the study of antibiotic resistance (AR) in commensal bacteria, where we will combine conventional phenotypic approach and the detection of a limited number of well-known targets in the genome with new approaches based on comparative genomics, transcriptomics, and target metagenomic sequencing of microbial communities. More advanced approaches has not been imp
Significance for the country
We expect that the results of the implementation of the program will also contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. Already in the past, new knowledge and methods have been transferred directly to partners in the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, feed manufacturers or companies dealing with environmental issues, through participation in joint projects (ARRS), targeted research projects (ARRS) or development projects (BRIN Competence Center, Food4Future, LIFE), as well as through contractual cooperation. With the help of the knowledge obtained in the framework of the program, we cooperate with companies and institutes that develop technologically advanced processed feeds, which enable better use of natural resources and economy of farming (Jata Emona) and products with plant bioactive substances, which aim to improve the animal production, animal health, the quality of animal products and reduce the carbon footprint of animals (Tanin Sevnica). We are also involved in the development of procedures aimed to reduce environmental problems related to by-products in the production of olive oil, by feeding them to animals as a source of plant bioactive substances, for creating functional animal feeding stuffs and improving animal health. We will still intensify these activities in the future as it leads to better technologies for feed production, more efficient management of animal nutrition, and the production / processing of healthy and safe food, while reducing the environmental burden. We cooperate with pharmaceutical industry in the development of new dietary supplements, especially probiotics, and quality control of these products, constantly introducing new knowledge. We will also strengthen cooperation with the food industry in the development of functional foods and analytics needed to monitor food quality. The research results of the proposed program will be helpful in development of new products, such as the new generation of probiotics (to protect the baby and the mother, for new functional foods, to support the treatment of chronic intestinal diseases, skin disorders and others), natural feed additives to improve production characteristics and animal health and the nutritional and technological quality of foods of animal origin, food supplements, as well as biocultures for degradation of organic substrates with the simultaneous production of biogas. Indirectly, with our research, we are also encouraging the creation of new biotechnology companies and contributing to the competitiveness of Slovenian products and thus the competitiveness of agriculture and the agro-food industry. The knowledge we develop within the program group's research is also being implemented in the field of environment. We cooperate practically with all agricultural biogas plants in Slovenia, which are encouraged towards the circular economy and bio-economy, by advising them on which waste organic substrates can be used for biogas production and what kind of technology to use to make biogas production as efficient as possible. For these economic stakeholders, we also conduct process analyzes and test biogas production for various individual and mixed waste. In terms of implementation of circular economy, we successfully cooperate professionally and scientifically with KOTO company. The research topic studied in the framework of the program is closely related to health as it examines the associations among the composition of food / feed and the factors related to human and animal nutrition, the metabolism and health of the host. Much emphasis is also on the quality of animal products, and on the modulation of gut microbiome in order to support the treatment of chronic diseases or prevent them. The part of the studies that addresses the resistance of commensal bacteria is also up to date as we face increasing resistance to antibiotics that is recognized as a global health problem. The diet during early life period which is dealt in th
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