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The GUTCYCLES project is a collaboration between The University of Greenland, Ilisimatusarfik, and The University of Copenhagen.

The project is collecting fecal samples through 15 months to assess the annual cycle of the gut microbiome of residents from the Qaanaaq region of Greenland. Through these samples the project seeks to answer whether there is an annual cycle in the gut microbiome and whether the cycle correlates with periods of more and less intake of local versus imported foods.

The data will also be used to assess whether the gut microbiome is actively expressing genes for degradation of and resistance to certain contaminants known from the local foods.

Finally the project will be linked to data from the project "The Greenland Diet Revolution" to assess whether microbes from local fermented foods (kiviaq) are transferred to and persist in the gut microbiome.



This two-year project seeks to put renewed focus on traditional Greenlandic foods through their microbiology.

Traditional Greenlandic foods are often prepared in natural settings and preserved through drying, salting or smoking and occasionally through fermentation. These foods can be considered rich sources of a natural diversity of microbes, as the foods are not cooked and as they are prepared in non-industrial settings.

Natural food microbes may be of use for natural preservation of industrial meat and fish products. The projects aims at mapping the food microbiome of traditional Greenlandic foods that are not cooked and which are prepared in a natural setting.

Through mapping of the food microbiome the project will assess the impact of preparation method, food species and geography on the food microbiome and also the potential biotechnological use of the microbes for food protection candidates in the meat and fish industry.

The microbiology of traditional Greenlandic foods may also help us understand how the Inuit evolved to adapt to the traditional diet rich in animal fat and protein and scarce in fibre, a conventionally unhealthy diet. Therefore, the project will also look at the overlap and potential interaction between the traditional Greenlandic food microbiome and the Inuit gut microbiome.

Follow the project at ResearchGate and at Instagram.


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