Living Labs (LLs)

LLs are open innovation ecosystems in real-life environments. By bringing together policymakers, communities, researchers and other stakeholders in the same room, LL settings seek to address complicated problems via a co-creation approach. Through this, LLs aim to build sustainable impact.

Term explanation

Lactic acid bacteria

Lactic acid bacteria are an important group of bacteria commonly associated with food fermentation processes. These bacteria that produce lactic acid as the main by-product of their breakdown of carbohydrates. These microbes have been a key component of human food preservation for thousands of years. The safe lactic acid they produce helps in food fermentation by dropping the pH of the food, making it difficult for unwanted microbes to grow. They allow long term safe storage of foods and impart delicious flavors to the food for the consumer.

Term explanation

Nutrient bioavailability

Nutrient bioavailability is the measure of how much of an ingested nutrient is efficiently absorbed by the human body (or by any organism). Understanding bioavailability is crucial for explaining how the nutrients in our food get from what we eat to how they affect our health. It’s basically about how well our bodies can absorb and use the good stuff in the food we consume.

Term explanation

Prebiotics vs probiotics

Prebiotics and probiotics are different groups of substances with distinct roles:
  • Prebiotics are food components (such as fibres) which serve as nourishment for the microorganisms residing in our gut. Prebiotics consist of non-digestible fibres that serve as sustenance for microorganisms, fostering their proliferation and function.
  • Probiotics are living microorganisms (such as bacteria and yeasts) which, when consumed in sufficient quantities, can yield health benefits.

Term explanation

Microbiome vs Microbiota

The microbiome is defined as a characteristic microbial community occupying a reasonable well-defined habitat which has distinct physio-chemical properties. The microbiome not only refers to the microorganisms involved but also encompass their theatre of activity, which results in the formation of specific ecological niches. The microbiota consists of the assembly of microorganisms belonging to different kingdoms (Prokaryotes [Bacteria, Archaea], Eukaryotes [e.g., Protozoa, Fungi, and Algae]), while “their theatre of activity” includes microbial structures, metabolites, mobile genetic elements (e.g., transposons, phages, and viruses), and relic DNA embedded in the environmental conditions of the habitat.

Term explanation

Fermented foods

By definition, fermented foods are “foods and beverages made through desired microbial growth and enzymatic conversions of food components”. In simple terms this means that a food substrate, coming from plants or animals, undergoes controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Fermentation is a metabolic process in which microorganisms, either naturally present in the food or added, break down complex nutrients present in the food into simpler components. This brings about a desirable change in the taste, texture, digestibility and durability of the food. Today, it is estimated that more than 5,000 varieties of fermented foods and beverages are produced and consumed globally, with characteristic differences from region to region that depend on local traditions, conditions and availability of raw materials.

Term explanation

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