Steering soil microbiomes for better crop quality: the holy grail to improve human health?

A step towards sustainable farming practices that prioritize  not only yields but also the nutritional value and health benefits of our food.

Human health


Good ground, good guts!

Intensive agriculture results in diminished crop quality, simplification of human gut microbiomes, and subsequently, adverse effects on human health. Within the ‘Soils2guts’ project, we will address this issue from two complementary viewpoints:

Both perspectives acknowledge the close interconnection between soil and crop microbiomes and their impact on human health. Therefore, it is imperative to investigate the individual components of this problem as an integrated whole.

Our objective is to build an integrated understanding of how sustainable agricultural practices can improve soil functional biodiversity, leading to optimised crop microbiomes, thereby reducing gut dysbiosis and reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Outputs of the project


Understanding how the soil microbiome influences crop health and nutritional quality


A suite of agricultural practices that optimally transfer soil microbiomes to crops and subsequently to humans


Shared perspectives of public and private stakeholders on how to facilitate the uptake and innovation of microbiome-mediated functionalities in our food


Understanding how crop quality modulates human gut microbiomes and health in relation to NCDs

Impacts of these outcomes

  1. Healthier food supply
  2. Concrete recommendations on how to modify agricultural practices to generate healthier soils and crops; importantly, these changes will also indirectly enhance water quality, climate migration, and biodiversity
  3. Change in the framing of the agricultural value chain
  4. Integration of different components in the food system


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    Fleur van de Kamp


    A research targeted to ‘resolve tensions, develop and test solutions, overcome barriers and uncover new market opportunities’