Dietary Intervention in Food Allergy: Microbiome, Epigenetic and Metabolomic interactions

Cumulative evidence suggests that food allergy (FA) is associated with a multitude of environmental factors including hygiene habits, antibiotic use, lifestyle changes and, in particular, diet. Changes in nutrition can result in dysbiosis of the skin, gut, and lung microbiota and generate changes in microbial the metabolites produced, which may in turn produce epigenetic modifications. Current evidence supports the view that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in immune regulation and may represent a key-missing piece of the etiological puzzle for FA, at the interface between the environment and the genome. Dietary fibre can change the gut microbiota composition and therefore cause epigenome changes promoting health. Pectin is one type of dietary fibre that can exert immune regulation and mouse studies have shown its capability to prevent and even cure respiratory allergies.
DIFAMEM aims to investigate the effects of FA treatment through intervention with a prebiotic dietary component, pectin, and using peach allergy as a model.

This project will advance our understanding on how the interaction between dietary components and gut microbiota composition leads to epigenetic changes that provoke the immune modulation, and establish new strategies for dietary intervention in FA, with potential applications for other immune-related diseases.


Partner Organization Partner Country
Universidad San Pablo CEU Spain
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) Germany
University Regional Hospital Center of Nancy France



  • The preparation of peach allergen extracts is optimised and the experimental mouse allergy model reflecting allergic sensitisation is almost established. Data showed intraperitoneal sensitisation with peach extract rather than using the purified peach allergen and subsequent challenge with peach extract is likely to induce IgE response and allergic symptoms.    
  • We have developed and optimised the analytical methodologies for faeces and serum samples. In faeces, a methodology adapted from Zhao L, et al. 2017 encompassing compounds from the gut microbiota - host co-metabolism, such as fatty acids, amino acids, phenols and indoles, and short chain fatty acids, has been established. Also in faeces, a methodology to obtain the profile of bile acids (primary, secondary, and conjugates) and vitamin D metabolites has been developed. In serum a targeted methodology to quantify metabolites related to energy metabolism, lysophospolipid, and sphingolipid metabolisms has been optimised.
  • Due to solubility characteristics two pectin varieties that are not used for gel formation were identified to be analysed for application in vivo: Pectin with low molecular weight as Herbapekt SF 50-LV (apples, 57% esterification) and Pectin Classic CU 901 (citrus, 7.3 % esterification).

Communication & Dissemination Activities

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communication
CitizensIBIMASocial networks (Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin)


Project number:
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %
Project lead and secretary:
Maria Jose Torres
Responsible organisation:
IBIMA. Allergy Unit- Hospital Regional de Malaga, Spain