ADM taps Brightseed’s AI platform to drive innovation with precision health outcomes for consumers
A growing body of scientific research from the past 15 years has highlighted the central role the microbiome plays on human health.
Differences in gut microbiome composition and function have been associated with a variety of chronic diseases, ranging from gastrointestinal, inflammatory and metabolic conditions to neurological, cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, and even mental wellbeing.
As a result, there has been a surge of interest in nutrition science on the role of synbiotics for precision gut health benefits. Synbiotics is a category of gut-focused foods and supplements that combine probiotics with prebiotics (non-digestible fibres) that beneficially affects the host by improving the survival and activity of beneficial microorganisms in the gut. According to a 2020 study in Nutrient, synbiotic supplementation increased the abundance of gut bacteria associated with positive health effects, especially Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. It also appeared to increase the gut microbiota richness.
However, much is still to be discovered about the specific functions of the diverse microbial communities and diet-microbiome-host interactions.
Despite encouraging evidence from animal models in which inflammatory conditions were successfully treated via gut microbiota manipulation, data from human trials is less conclusive.
The future of clinically-validated symbiotic products
As such, ADM – a global leader in nutrition, powering many of the world’s top food brands – has forged a partnership with Brightseed to further decode the gut microbiome and bioactives, in order to develop clinically-validated synbiotic products.
Brightseed is a San Francisco-based bioactives expert and a World Economic Forum Global Innovator – an invitation-only group of the world’s most promising start-ups – bolstered by propriety artificial intelligence (AI) that illuminates nature to restore human health.
The company’s AI – called Forager – discovered bioactives in plants and maps them to specific modes of action at a rate and accuracy that was previously impossible, providing insights into biological changes that can occur at the cellular level. It accelerates bioactive discovery, biological validation and ingredient formulation from years to months, rapidly revealing new connections between nature and humanity.
Through Forager and clinical evaluation, Brightseed has partnered with several organisations across the consumer health continuum to offer insight into the world of bioactives.
The world of bioactives
Science has long known that bioactives are critical to human health, yet the vast majority remain unknown and are often referred to as the ‘dark matter’ of nutrition.
Many bioactives are inherently found in plants – such as lycopene in tomatoes and curcumin in turmeric – however, a multitude of others are only accessible through complex interactions within the gut. Such as the compound salicin found in willow bark, which transforms into salicylic acid when it interacts with gut microbes.
Brightseed has now received an undisclosed investment from Chicago-based ADM to develop highly efficacious synbiotics in specific health areas as functional ingredients for foods and beverages, dietary supplements and medical foods by 2025.
Driving category innovation
“We know from our recent research into global consumer trends that macro forces, including the lingering pandemic, have coincided with an increased demand for natural and plant-based solutions that target immune function, metabolic health, and mental wellbeing,” said Mark Lotsch, ADM’s president of global health and wellness.
“We are thrilled to partner with Brightseed to lead in state-of-the-art discovery on the microbiome, and to bring forward science-backed solutions that empower consumers toward proactive and individualised health.”
Added Sofia Elizondo, Brightseed’s cofounder and chief operating officer, “Brightseed and ADM share the conviction that precision health outcomes for consumers should be driving category innovation.
“ADM's advanced understanding of the untapped potential of natural compounds, combined with their vast microbial libraries, is the sum total expertise that will redefine the future of ingredients to promote a healthy microbiome.”
Role of the gut microbiome in chronic diseases: a narrative review
Authors: Amrita Vijay and Ana M. Valdes
Eur J Clin Nutr 76, 489–501 (2022)
Effects of Synbiotic Supplement on Human Gut Microbiota, Body Composition and Weight Loss in Obesity.
Authors: IN Sergeev, T Aljutaily, G Walton and E Huarte
Nutrients. 2020 Jan 15;12(1):222