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Research projects

PAN Protein - plant-based proteins contributing to a healthy and sustainable diet

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2021 - 2024


Samira Prado

Research subject

Research environments

A food system enabling the achievement of a more environmentally sustainable diet demands a shift in consuming less animal and more plant-based protein. The impact of plant-based proteins on health is unclear since studies have fundamental limitations regarding dietary intake and intraindividual variations. Self-reported dietary information is prone to errors, and determining food's impact on health is challenging due to the complexity of the food matrix and individual aspects (e.g., nutritional needs and gut microbiota). Biomarkers indicate food intake and its effects on health, and identifying markers for plant-based intake would pave the way to achieving a more sustainable and healthy diet.

We aim to create a methodological framework, including the discovery and validation of novel biomarker panels to decipher the impact of plant-based protein intake on health biomarkers. We will conduct a dietary intervention and use cutting-edge techniques, such as metagenomics and metabolomics. Blood, urine and faeces metabolomics will be integrated with microbiota functional annotation by building dependency networks and identifying biomarkers related to protein intake. In this way, we expect to provide a high-resolution picture of bacteria-host-metabolism interactions caused by plant-based proteins and provide new functional insights and useful biomarkers. Ultimately, the methodological framework and biomarkers panels will contribute to tailoring sustainably produced food with health benefits.


  • Prof Kati Hanhineva (UTU)
  • Prof Rikard Landberg (CTH)