We use our knowledge of human digestion to develop new foods that promote gut health.
The human gastrointestinal tract is a highly complex system involving interactions between what we eat, our resident microflora and our digestive and immune systems. Food is now understood to provide far more than basic nutrition and energy to the body, and similarly, the gut microbiota are now recognised as integrated and interactive participants in human metabolism.
Plant & Food Research is gaining a better understanding of digestion, absorption, and fermentation of different foods as they pass through the gut, and the downstream effects of foods and their metabolites on human health throughout the body. We look at the influence on weight management and energy use, gut health, chronic inflammatory diseases and macro- and micro-nutrient interactions.
We are also partners in the Nutrigenomics New Zealand research programme, which is exploring the links between food, gene expression and health, particularly in inflammatory bowel disease.