Though presented in a digital format this year, Probiota 2021 Summit succeeded in its traditional goal: offering expert speakers and vigorous panels who engaged on key issues affecting the business of the microbiome. Nutraingredients and a host of generous sponsors along with IPA presented the Probiota 2021 program free of charge.
The two-hour broadcasts over three days in early February featured themes affecting the microbiome community:
- European Regulatory Opportunities for the Next Decade: the changing regulatory landscape concerning probiotic and prebiotic development
- Beyond The Gut: advances elsewhere in the microbiome including bone, joints, sleep, mood, and the brain.
- Pre & Probiotics Futures: looking past the global disruption due to the pandemic, experts predict directions for researchers and industry stakeholders in the microbiome arena.
If you missed the live event, you may access the entire program on-demand. As a sample of the offerings available, here’s a quick recap of one presentation —others to come in the weeks ahead — from Ruairi Robertson PhD at Queen Mary University in London.
Dr. Robertson began by taking a sweep through the history of microbiome research from the 17th century when the Antonie van Leeuwenhoek first spied bacteria through the lens of his microscope on through the discoveries of Élie Metchnikoff and up to the explosion in research and interest in the last decade.
He then reminded the viewers that much is still unknown and as such represents great opportunity as time and hard work reveal the mysteries of the microbiome. For example, 40% of bacterial genes are yet to be attached to specific functions.
Drawing from his deep background, Dr. Robertson outlined his five predictions for the future direction of the microbiome.
- Home testing will become popular. Pocket size testers and smart toilets are already in prototype.
- Data gathering will move beyond stool samples. Smart pills will analyze data throughout the intestines. Metabolites in blood as well as urine and breath samples will yield data.
- Focus on bacteria will broaden to include viruses, yeasts, and fungi.
- Personalization will Identify individual differences and how they relate to health outcomes. Gut microbiome data are already used to design personalized diets to regulate weight and blood sugar.
- Citizen science will grow. As people are becoming more engaged and interested in science thanks to COVID-19, contributions via devices such as phone data can be aggregated for analysis.
Dr. Robertson concluded with this advice:
Companies that engage with industry, researchers and people to generate data will be key to a successful company that personalizes solutions.
Stay tuned for more capsules from Probiota 2021, an engaging digital broadcast.