Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Nutrition and microbial ecology of gastrointestinal tract

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.02.00  Biotechnical sciences  Animal production   
4.06.00  Biotechnical sciences  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 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (34)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  19485  PhD Tomaž Accetto  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  171 
2.  08320  PhD Gorazd Avguštin  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  359 
3.  11150  PhD Bojana Bogovič Matijašić  Animal production  Head  2014 - 2018  394 
4.  15659  PhD Andreja Čanžek Majhenič  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  242 
5.  33148  PhD Maša Čater  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2014 - 2015  104 
6.  15561  PhD Matjaž Červek  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  85 
7.  11765  PhD Lijana Fanedl  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  105 
8.  50239  Gaja Sofija Intihar    Technical associate  2017 - 2018 
9.  17518  Marko Kodra    Technical associate  2014 - 2018 
10.  05624  Mojca Koman-Rajšp  Animal production  Technical associate  2017 - 2018  46 
11.  11889  PhD Andrej Lavrenčič  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  351 
12.  38145  PhD Jakob Leskovec  Animal production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2018  60 
13.  15194  PhD Alenka Levart  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  323 
14.  37703  PhD Luka Lipoglavšek  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  50 
15.  17528  Marta Majdič    Technical associate  2014 - 2016 
16.  08404  PhD Romana Marinšek Logar  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  510 
17.  33150  PhD Anja Mavrič    Junior researcher  2014 - 2015  12 
18.  25516  PhD Petra Mohar Lorbeg  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  117 
19.  17520  Anica Mušič    Technical associate  2014 - 2016 
20.  33138  Brigita Nograšek  Animal production  Junior researcher  2014 - 2015 
21.  28205  Tanja Obermajer    Technical associate  2014 - 2018  52 
22.  36376  PhD Diana Paveljšek  Animal production  Junior researcher  2014 - 2018  38 
23.  15254  PhD Tatjana Pirman  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  553 
24.  20082  PhD Vida Rezar  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  345 
25.  08857  PhD Irena Rogelj  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  706 
26.  50598  PhD Vita Rozman  Animal production  Junior researcher  2017 - 2018  39 
27.  00886  PhD Janez Salobir  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  648 
28.  19104  PhD Blaž Stres  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2017  370 
29.  37426  PhD Robert Šket  Human reproduction  Junior researcher  2014 - 2018  67 
30.  31910  PhD Primož Treven  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  75 
31.  34337  PhD Tina Tušar  Biotechnical sciences  Junior researcher  2014 - 2018  15 
32.  39093  Beti Vidmar  Animal production  Junior researcher  2016 - 2018  21 
33.  28851  PhD Maša Vodovnik  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  102 
34.  17864  PhD Maša Zorec  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2018  71 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,527 
2.  0489  EMONA - Nutrition Research & Development Department  Ljubljana  5326974000  207 
Interactions between diet and microbiota, creating internal and external environment of the host, affect human and animal health, the nutritional value and quality of animal products and, through animal excreta, the environment. Nutrition is gaining importance due to the problems of unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle in the developed world and related lifestyle diseases as well as from the strategic economic point of view. The problems are directly related to agriculture and food industry as well as to wider society, nutrition policy, health practices and consumers showing increasing interest in functional food consumption. Therefore, nutrition research focused on investigating the nutrients or substances with specific nutritional-physiological effects is very topical. The intestines of people and animals is richly populated with micro-organisms (human: about 1014, 1000-2000 species), which are in constant interaction with food and hosts. Homeostasis in the metabolism of nutrients, intestinal immunity and energy ensures the health of the host, while imbalance in gut microbiota may lead to dysbiosis and the development of disease. An important factor that can cause, prevent or even improve the imbalance, is nutrition. Research program will address from different aspects the complex system of diet-microbiota-health-environment and will continue the current research of the program group. In the area of ​​meeting the needs of the animals we will study secondary plant metabolites, which represent an alternative to antibiotics and interesting components of food of animal origin with functional properties. With the help of new metabolic markers and transcriptomic analysis, more in-depth research of the performance of antioxidative bioactive substances, as well as of possibilities to regulatemicrobial fermentation in intestines with bioactive substances will be carried out, while the animal studies would serve also as model studies for humans. We will continue with genetic, genomic and metagenomic studies of intestinal  from the genera Prevotella, Bacteroides and Ruminococcus with emphasis on genes for degradation of polysaccharides (PUL) and mechanisms for adaptation to specific environmental conditions. We will search for links among the composition of the intestinal microbiota and various diseases, as well as for the possibilities to modulate the microbiota with probiotics and β-glucans. We will study also the immunomodulatory bioactive peptides from human colostrum, different toxic compounds in food / feed which originate from polluted environment, the utilization of various microorganisms from the gastrointestinal tract as probiotics (breast milk or intestinal mucosa as a source of probiotic bacteria ) or as biocultures for the degradation of organic substrates (rumen bacteria), such as for example waste from the agro-food sector. In parallel the development and/or application of new methods for genomic and transcriptomic analysis, for proteomic analysis of bioactive substances (LC-MS/MS analysis) and for testing of toxic and genotoxic effects of nanoparticles will take place.
Significance for science
Research in the field of nutrition and microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract is gaining in importance ever since powerful genomic, proteomic and transcriptomic technologies have become available and is therefore of interest to the scientific and professional public on a global scale. The group that will participate in the implementation of the program brings together researchers with different profiles, which cover the various areas of microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, food technology, nutrition, breeding of laboratory and domestic animals and physiology which represents a vast advantage and a good foundation for the actualization of high-profile research results. Our expectations are based on the promising results already obtained in the scope of the program during the past nine years and will be additionally upgraded with future more in-depth research, which has now been made possible with the development of advanced and powerful (- omic) methods accessible today. We will contribute to the advancement of science with the development and/or application of methods for molecular, biological, genetic, genomic and transcriptomic analysis of human biological samples, animal models and tissue cultures, which enable the study of interactions in the gastrointestinal tract as well as develop methods for proteomic analysis of bioactive compounds (LC-MS/MS analysis) to assess the toxic and genotoxic effects of food and feed ingredients. Additionally, the use of afore mentioned methods is of great scientific importance for studying the effects of nutritional value and the quality of animal products. It is also in our interest to develop methods for testing the effects of probiotics and assessing their number, which is important for the quality control of probiotic products that is still not well regulated in the EU, due to the lack of commonly accepted legal basis and standards. The new knowledge of tracking and detecting the effects of nanoparticles in food and feed on the host will be of special interest to the wider scientific world, since nanotechnology is on the uprise and effects on health are still poorly understood. The latter is in accordance with EU guidelines, which support reducing the use of laboratory animals and replacing them with experiments on cell lines and simple single-cell organisms. In this aspect we are successfully cooperating with the European organisation for the development of alternative methods (ECVAM). We would like to emphasize the importance of identifying the link between gut microbiota, bioactive substances in food and feed and certain medical conditions occuring in humans and animals. This connection will help to elucidate the development of disease and prevention of illnesses with the help of bactotherapy and the use of bioactive substances. We anticipate results of international importance with our research in the field of children's intestinal microbiota, which has an important effect on health in adulthood. We would also like to strenghten the already existing cooperation with key researchers in this field (University Complutense in Madrid, Spain under the leadership of JM Rodriguez), possibly in the context of future EU projects.
Significance for the country
One of the main goals of the programme group is the support of the educational process at the graduate and post-graduate level, in accordance with the mission of our institution. Production and supply of safe, healthy and quality food is one of the priority research areas in Europe. The problem is addressed also in the proposed program, both through exploring safety of food and its effects on the host, as through the development of methods for testing the toxic and genotoxic effects of substances in food / feed, and for determining the quality of functional foods, feed additives or nutritional supplements. Contribution to sustainable development primarily represents planned research on bio-cultures for the decomposition of organic substrates - waste from the agri-food sector, which is directly related to the production of biogas, as well as with assuring the energy from renewable sources. Furthermore, the use of natural instead of synthetic feed additives which allows their use in organic farming where the use of certain synthetic feed additives is not permitted, also support the sustainable development. Research will contribute to greater awareness, to better food quality, and will support the knowledge of the population about healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle, and will consequently contribute to the improved health status of the population of the RS. There is of particular importance nutrition in the earliest period of life, which is covered in the program through exploring the effects of breast milk on the development of the microbiota of children. The results are also important in terms of food and nutrition policies and health practices. Research and development on nutrition issues require knowledge of various natural sciences and technologies, which is provided with the diverse composition of the proposed program group. Efficient implementation of the research program will together with an educational aspect substantially contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. Collaboration with partners from the industrial sector will bring new knowledge and methods through the applicative projects and introduce technology of forage production, animal nutrition and management of production/processing of healthy and safe food, with a lesser burden on the environment. Research of biopeptides from colostrum, of new generation probiotics from breast milk and intestinal mucosa, and of bioactive additives for food and feed raises the possibility of developing new products - bioterapeutics (protection of the newborn from infection and of mother against breast infection,  prevention or supportive treatment of intestinal disorders), probiotic cultures for functional foods, natural feed additives for improved performance and health of animals as well as nutritional and technological quality of food of animal origin, nutritional supplements and biocultures for degradation of organic substrates by producing biogas - and encourages the start up of new biotechnology companies. New developments in the above mentioned research fields would contribute greatly to the competitiveness of Slovenian products and thus the competitiveness of agriculture and agri-food sector as a whole.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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