Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

C7 – ELUMICA – Elucidating Microbial Metabolic Capacity

Principal Investigator

Dr Saskia Sperber
Experimental Toxicology and Ecology
RB/TE – Z470
67056 Ludwigshafen
Tel. +49 621 60-59613


Dr. Karsten Beekmann, Wageningen University and Research, NL, karsten.beekmann@wur.nl

Prof. Shana Sturla, ETH Zurich, CH, sturlas@ethz.ch


It is estimated that the number of microorganisms populating the human body is in the same order as the number of human cells, and that these microorganisms contain a thousand times more genes than the human genome. The intestinal microbiome uses its genome to fulfil important functions for its host such as extracting calories from the diet, synthesizing essential vitamins and amino acids, bile acid and lipid metabolism, supporting immune function, maintaining energy balance, and preventing infections. The capacity to biotransform molecules could have significant relevance for pharmacology and toxicology.

In order to increase our mechanistic understanding of how the microbiome influences its host health, there is a need to integrate knowledge of the composition of the gut microbiome with its functionality in terms of microbiota-mediated metabolic processes.

To address this and advance the current state of the science, we will carry out collaborative, mechanistically oriented research centered around the following three aims:

  1. Identify and quantify alterations in endogenous and xenobiotic-derived microbial metabolites;
  2. Provide a basis to examine interspecies and interindividual differences in intestinal microbial metabolism; and
  3. Develop an approach to integrate intestinal microbiome metabolic capacity in an in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE).

Timeline: January 2019 > August 2021

LRI funding: € 575 000

Cefic-Lri Programme Responsible Care

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