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Using algae to bring relief for IBD patients

Using algae to bring relief for IBD patients

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a serious disease that causes prolonged inflammation and damage to the human digestive tract. More than six million people suffer from IBD globally, for whom the disease can be very painful and disruptive, and in some cases may even be life threatening.

The EU-funded Algae4IBD project aims to identify small molecules from seaweeds and microalgae which may have anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve pain for sufferers of IBD. Teagasc is a partner in Algae4IBD, including researchers Dr Maria Hayes, Dr Dilip Rai and Dr Dolly Bhati from Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown. Teagasc research on Algae4IBD includes screening algae for their ability to inhibit the enzymes that are important in the development of pain and inflammation. The active compounds are characterised and incorporated into a variety of food and pharma products. Finally, the palatability of these products is studied, which is important for consumers.

With the project now in its third year, the project partners will this July host a Summer School “From Nature to Bedside” to explore the diverse aspects of compound discovery and product development for functional foods and treatment of disease. This Summer School is aimed at PhD students and early career researchers and will be held at the University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal from 15th – 26th July 2024. Teagasc’s Maria Hayes will present methods and an overview of Teagasc work in the project (WP1, 2, 3 and 6) regarding bioactivities, digestibility and bio-accessibility of bioactive compounds (in conjunction with VITO, Belgium), as well as formulation of ingredients for functional foods (in conjunction with ALGAIA, France, and VITO).

Find out more about the Summer School

Read more about the team’s work on the Algae4IBD project, in TResearch here

Read the publication: “Inflammatory bowel disease - A peek into the bacterial community shift and algae-based ‘biotic’ approach to combat the disease”