Microbiota-Inflammation-Brain axis in heart failure: new food, biomarkerS and AI Approach for the prevention of undeRnutrition in Older

In agreement to the Joint Programming Initiative “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life”, the transnational and multidisciplinary AMBROSIA project fits with the areas of food and health tackling one of major social challenges in current healthcare, the undernutrition in a well-defined “older” population, or rather Heart Failure (HF) and Atrial Fibrillation patients (AF). In this patients’cohort, undernutrition, is one key factors leading through inflammation, to loss of function, disability and, ultimately, to death. In addition, AF and HF synergistically contribute to determine a frail status. Undernourished AF and HF patients enter a vicious cycle “of undernutrition, inflammation, cachexia”, determining a progressive cognitive decline and lean body mass regression. .Since the inflammation is closely related with the health of intestinal microbiota, shaping the gut microbiota composition with a probiotic-based food, specifically enriched with key nutrients, could be an efficacious and safe approach to break this cycle improving the cognitive functioning and skeletal muscle mass. AMBROSIA is based on a novel research, it was planned to leverage and blend the skills of all applicants, so that there is a partnership to achieve the main objectives and an even distribution of tasks in the various work packages. AMBROSIA aims to develop an innovative food product to prevent undernutrition in HF and AF older patients: a new chocolate AMBROSIA bar containing specific mix of probiotic strains and a cocktail of micro/macronutrients (fibers, protein hydrolysates, coenzyme Q10); further studies on the metabolism and absorption of novel hydrolysates will be performed involving the patient association. In addition, the realization of a proper-realistic strategy from development and delivery of the AMBROSIA bar to the HF and AF patients is included. The efficacy of “AMBROSIA” bar on undernutrition prevention and its impact on cognitive functioning and skeletal muscle mass of older HF and AF patients will be evaluated through a prospective monocentric interventional clinical study. Finally, statistical and machine learning methods will be developed for the identification of features from the “Microbiota-Inflammation-Brain axis” that are predictive for undernutrition (biomarkers) and/or related to AMBROSIA bar treatment outcome.


Partner Organization Partner Country
IdISBa, Foundation Health Research Institute of the Balearic Islands, Lipids in Human Pathology group Spain
Synbiotec Sr Italy
Section of Food adn Nutrition, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin Ireland
Northumbria University, NB144, Northumberland Building, Northumbria University United Kingdom
Genevention GmbH, R&D Germany



  • The  AMBROSIA chocolate bar has been designed and produced on a pilot scale, containing a specific mix of probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus IMC 501 ®  and Lactobacillus paracasei IMC 502), fibres and a cocktail of micro/macronutrients. The final composition of AMBROSIA is based on the nutritional requirements of the patients involved in the in vivo study, based on the total protein, essential amino acid profiles and the in vitro cardioprotective properties. The ingredients were balanced according to the production process of the chocolate bar to obtain a final AMBROSIA food product with optimum sensorial profile, the recommended dose for each active principle/component (probiotics, protein hydrolysates, inulin, coenzyme Q10) and a good shelf-life.
  • AMBROSIA semantic knowledgebase has been developed and configurated on the basis of Genevention’s Semares TM platform. For this purpose, a data and metadata catalogue for AMBROSIA was established with all partners in several online meetings. Based on this catalogue, a harmonized (meta)data representation scheme for FAIR data management was derived and a corresponding semantic layer for the knowledgebase was developed. Furthermore, we developed a module for the streamlined insertion of clinical data into the knowledgebase, including the possibility to represent different clinical data categories and semi-automatically link clinical study data to corresponding experimental data.


Title: Cardioprotective Peptides from Milk Processing and Dairy Products: From Bioactivity to Final Products including Commercialization and Legislation.
Author: Armin Mirzapour-Kouhdasht, and Marco Garcia-Vaquero*
Title: Impact of Whey Protein Edible Coating Containing Fish Gelatin Hydrolysates on Physicochemical, Microbial, and Sensory Properties of Chicken Breast Fillets.
Author: Forouzan Sabzipour-Hafshejani., Armin Mirzapour-Kouhdasht., Diako Khodaei., Mohammad Sadegh Taghizadeh., & Marco Garcia-Vaquero*
Title: Wheat Germ Fermentation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Lactobacillus plantarum: Process Optimization for Enhanced Composition and Antioxidant Properties In Vitro.
Author: Elnaz Bayat., Marzieh Moosavi-Nasab., Mahboobeh Fazaeli., Marjan Majdinasab., Armin Mirzapour-Kouhdasht., & Marco Garcia-Vaquero*.
Title: Bioactive Peptides from Algae: Traditional and Novel Generation Strategies, Structure-Function Relationships, and Bioinformatics as Predictive Tools for Bioactivity.
Author: O’Connor, J.; Garcia-Vaquero*, M.; Meaney, S.; Tiwari, B. K.,
Title: Nutraceuticals from Algae: Current View and Prospects from a Research Perspective.
Author: Tiwari, B. K.; Garcia-Vaquero, M.*
Title: The Diet of Children Attending a Holiday Programme in the UK: Adherence to UK Food-Based Dietary Guidelines and School Food Standards
Author: Crilley, E., Brownlee, I.*, & Defeyter, M. A
Title: Effect of ancient Khorasan wheat on gut microbiota, inflammation, and short-chain fatty acid production in patients with fibromyalgia
Author: Simone Baldi , Giuditta Pagliai , Monica Dinu , Leandro Di Gloria , Giulia Nannini , Lavinia Curini , Marco Pallecchi , Edda Russo , Elena Niccolai , Giovanna Danza , Stefano Benedettelli , Giovanna Ballerini , Barbara Colombini , Gianluca Bartolucci , Matteo Ramazzotti , Francesco Sofi , Amedeo Amedei *
Author: Edda Russo, Amedeo Amedei*

Communication & Dissemination Activities

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communicationLink
 Marco Vaquero, Research bites (UCD, Ireland, Sept-2021).VideoLink
 Marvo Vaquero, Symposium on biomass and sustainability (Ourense, Spain, Sept-2021).  
 Marco Vaquero, Current Issues in Food-Nutrition. Incited speaker to undergraduate students in IT-Sligo, Ireland (Oct-2021).Talk 
 Marco Vaquero Spanish National Press interview on my current research. Faro de Vigo in Dec-2021.Interview 
 Armin Mirzapour-Kouhdasht., Elnaz Bayat., Marzieh Moosavi-Nasab., Mahboobeh Fazaeli., Marjan Majdinasab., & Marco Garcia-Vaquero. (2022). Process optimization in the cereal industry: the case of wheat germ fermentation. 7th Cereals & Europe Spring Meeting. Greece.  
 Marco Vaquero, FOODI info Day. Thailand (28 th June-1 st July 2022).Info Day & Expert Workshop 
 Brownlee, I.A. (2022) “An Introduction to the AMBROSIA Project: a Novel Dietary Intervention Targeting Frailty in Older Adults”. BioFocus2022, Gateshead, UK.  
 Edda Russo , Giulia Ricciardi, Simone Baldi, Claudia Di Serio , Giulia Nannini, Elena Niccolai , Maria Cristina Verdenelli , Maria Magdalena Coman , Marco Garcia Vaquero , Gwendolyn Barceló-Coblijn , Iain Brownlee , Thomas Linger , Inge Sillaber , Rossella Marcucci , Stefano Fumagalli , Amedeo Amedei*, 66 Congresso SIGG, Rome, 4 December 2021AbstractLink


Project number:
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Amedeo Amedei
Responsible organisation:
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Florence, Italia