18 May 2017

Food Microbes as a resource

The Greenlandic Diet Revolution

The project seeks to put renewed focus on traditional Greenlandic foods through their microbiology.

Photo by Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann

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 project 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.

Skinning a musk ox. Photo: Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann