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Future Food and Eating Practices: Microbiome-Centric Dining

Research Group: All

The human body is an ecology carrying billions of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses), which is called human microbiome, living on internal and external surfaces of the human body. The total number of these species exceeds almost 10 times the number of human cells and surpasses more than 200 times the number of human genes. Recent studies discerned that our growth and development are not only modulated by our own genes, but also influenced by this microbiome, which is habituated in our bodies since our birth. There is an intertwined relationship between us, and our microbiome that constantly affects each other. While we unconsciously regulate the composition and number of microorganisms in our body through our diet, lifestyle and habits, the changes in the microbiome inevitably cause alterations in our functioning, emotional state, and behaviour.

The future alternative food and eating practices are a prominent area in current research and design endeavors. However, to date, the human microbiome and its affect on human body has not been taking into account during the development of possible future eating practices. But, how would seeing the human body as an ecology rather than an independent being affect our eating behaviour and practices?

This research focuses on understanding the intertwined relationship between the human body and it’s microbiome to explore possible future eating practices, where we consider human beings as an ecology providing living space and food for the microbiota rather than seeing the body as an independent being.

The pictures are from the initial exploration of human microbiome that was cultivated from different parts of the body.

‘I am eager to explore how unique qualities of ‘living materials’ can transform the way we think, feel and act.’

Hazal Ertürkan is a researcher within the Caradt research group Biobased Art and Design. She also works as a design researcher and material designer at Delft University of Technology. Her current PhD project is collaboration between TU Delft and Avans Caradt.

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