Current food production systems face many challenges, including climate change and rampant demographic development, and new sustainable approaches are urgent get adapted. Wheat is a central crop in Europe, and soil and plant microbial communities are of particular interest in wheat crops since microorganisms:

  • are crucial solutions for restoring soils and protecting the crops against pathogens;
  • play a key role in regulating plant metabolisms and, thus, the quality and properties of crops;
  • can be promising producers for a wide range of nutritional and healthy foods and feeds.

However, more studies on wheat microbiomes are needed as the current data is scarce.

WHEATBIOME is a new EU-funded project presented by Contactica.

WHEATBIOME, Unravelling the potential of the wheat microbiome for the development of healthier, more sustainable and resilient wheat-derived food & feed products, is a European project which aims to contribute in the understanding of the role of the wheat microbiome on sustainable development of wheat crops by undertakingcutting-edge research with strong collaboration between academia, industry, food system actors and governmental authorities.

 WHEATBIOME will explore the role of microbiomes in wheat production systems in a broad approach from soil to plate to:

  • Understand the wheat farming practices and the effect of biotic/abiotic factors on wheat microbiomes with 2 case studies in Spain and Netherlands and a lab-scale demonstrator.
  • Unravel the soil-plant microbiome cross-talking on wheat metabolism and nutritional quality.
  • Discover new fermentation capacities within indigenous wheat microbiomes and develop novel food and feed products.

New WHEATBIOME‘s food and feed products will be characterized to ensure their nutritious and healthy properties, ensuring their safety for animal and human use, and their sustainability. The interactions between the human/animal microbiota and the wheat biocompounds (prebiotics, probiotics, bioactive compounds, immunogenic proteins, etc.) will be also determined, as well as its effect on human and animal health.

In addition,  WHEATBIOME will reduce the food waste by promoting recircularization of wheat discards and by-products in food and feed lines. By identifying the needs of the food system actors regarding microorganisms, together with the scientific findings, relevant best sustainable farming practices will be delivered.  Sustainable farming procedures for resilient and nutritious wheat crops will be disseminated via a new decision support system (DSS), together with strong communication and dissemination campains for actor’s adherence to environmental and economic-balanced new agronomic practices towards more resilient and sustainable food systems.

WHEATBIOME  has been funded under the Horizon Europe program, in the topic HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-09 – Microbiomes in food production systems. It is a Research and Innovation Action project (RIA) with a funding of 5,060,547.91 €, 100% funded by the European Union. WHEATBIOME contributes to Horizon Europewith a translational, multidisciplinary and multi-actor approach, including cooperation between industries and academia across EU, to achieve a greener and competivive bio-based Europe.This project consortium is composed of 13 partners from 6 countries (Portugal, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Hungary).

This new European Union funded initiative started on June 2023, coordinated from Portugal by Rede de Química e Tecnologia (REQUIMTE), and will last for four years. Contactica will lead the strategies of communication, dissemination and exploitation, (WP8 leader) and perform LCSA, and bioprocess simulation for optimization and up-scaling (WP7 leader).

For more information, you can check all of Contactica’s EU funded projects.

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