FeedOmics may improve animal production efficiency, and help to feed the world

Published on
June 22, 2017

Fundamental research reveals novel biological effects of different protein sources on the interplay between nutrition, microbiota, and the host. This so called FeedOmics research may positively affect animal production efficiency, and herewith help to feed the world. The research was conducted by Soumya Kanti Kar, for which he has been awarded a doctoral degree at Wageningen University & Research.

Soumya (Sam) Kanti Kar’s PhD thesis, entitled “FeedOmics, an approach to evaluate the functional properties of protein containing feed ingredients”, describes “FeedOmics” as multi-omic approach to investigate the nutritional and non-strictly nutritional properties of protein sources with respect to animal physiology, including aspects of immunity, metabolism, and gut health. The research revealed novel biological effects of different protein sources, increasing our understanding of the interplay between nutrition, microbiota and the host. In turn this research has implications for animal production efficiency, which is linked to the increasing demand for animal protein to feed the growing human population.

Sam’s multidisciplinary approach, ranged from in silico (bioinformatics), in vitro (organoids), to in vivo work (both mice and pigs). It included different types of biological data by employing mass-spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics, whole genome transcriptomics, gut microbiota, and MS-based metabolomics.

Sam performed his research under the daily supervision of Alfons Jansman (Animal Nutrition department Wageningen Livestock Research) and Dirkjan Schokker (Animal Breeding and Genomics Wageningen University & Research) and promotors Jerry Wells (Chair Host-Microbe Interactomics (HMI)) and Mari Smits (endowed professorship Intestinal Health Animals, HMI).

The research work has been supported by the “IPOP Customized Nutrition” programme financed by Wageningen University & Research, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation, the graduate school (WIAS), The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw programme Enabling Technologies), and industrial partners Nutreco, The Netherlands, and Darling Ingredients International, The Netherlands.


Soumya (Sam) Kanti Kar defended his PhD thesis on June 19 in the Aula of Wageningen University & Research. His defence can be viewed through WUR-TV.