29 October 2018 - Deborah Wilkes
Irish firm Alimentary Health and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) have launched a research collaboration to find the optimal probiotics for pregnant women and their babies.
The partners are investing EUR3.4 million (USD3.8 million) in the Microbe Mom initiative which is led by the SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Ireland.
The collaboration will focus on the transfer of specific strains of bacteria, in particular Bifidobacteria strains, from mother to baby. The aim is to identify the optimum Bifidobacteria for mother and baby health.
Eileen Murphy, technical director of Alimentary Health, said the research was "key to understanding which bacteria make a difference to a baby". "It is also vital to understand how they can best be transferred to baby too," she added. "For example, should they be given to the mother during pregnancy or should we give them directly to the baby."
Range of probiotic products
Murphy said the knowledge would help Alimentary Health develop a "range of probiotics with the precise qualities we need to optimise maternal and baby health".
Michael Creed – Ireland's minister for agriculture, food and the marine – said Microbe Mom was an "important collaboration between academia and industry that will generate impactful health solutions for mothers and infants in Ireland".
"Optimising diet and the nature of food and supplements for pregnant women and babies is crucial to ensuring their health and wellbeing throughout their lives," added Creed.
Microbe Mom is a four-way collaboration between Alimentary Health, APC Microbiome, the University College Dublin Perinatal Research Centre, and the National Institute of Biotechnology Research and Training (NIBRT).
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