Holistic intestinal biological efficacy of different lettuce lines

by Prof. dr. Roos Masereeuw (Pharmaceutical sciences), Prof. dr. Guido van den Ackerveken (Faculty of Science), Paul Jochems MSc (Pharmaceutical sciences).

The ever-growing world population puts pressure on global food security, and this challenge is addressed in multiple scientific disciplines.

In the field of crop breeding, favorable traits are being selected by focusing on yield, disease resistance and resilience against climate change. However, the effects of favorable trait selection on biological efficacy receives much less attention, for which a bioengineered intestinal tubule has been developed at the division of Pharmacology of Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences. This novel 3-dimensional cell model recapitulates the small intestine and can be used to study alternative dietary protein safety and biological efficacy. With the Future Food Seed grant, six different lettuce lines (varying from commercial butter and romaine lettuce to related wild species) will be tested for intestinal biological efficacy, including the intestinal barrier integrity, cell viability, brush border enzyme activity and immune response. Once these data are collected, the biological behavior will be evaluated using an holistic in silico cluster analysis. The project will teach us if and how crop breeding affects biological behavior.