Danone Research Wageningen - Wageningen

Today, Danone is the largest player in the food industry which is entirely focused on health food and its ambition is to become the most innovative company in this field. Gut and microbiology research, including the role of intestinal microbiota in human health, as well as probiotic and prebiotic functionality, are at the heart of this innovation strategy.

Probiotics and prebiotics have a large spectrum of applications for human health: they can have a positive effect on the immune system, on digestive comfort and reduce risks of infection, allergy or excessive inflammatory reactions. Alterations in gut microbiota have been connected to many diseases such as obesity and intestinal bowel disease. Understanding the relationship between gut microbiota, nutrition and human health is key for developing future health benefits for consumers.

Research and Training Expertise

The role of Danone Research Centre for Specialised Nutrition Wageningen is to develop, test and validate hypotheses resulting in scientific insights, principles and concepts that can be transformed into safe and responsible specialised nutritional products for the most vulnerable groups in our society; babies, toddlers, patients and elderly. We are commited to bringing the best possible nutrition to prepare them for a long, happy and healthy life.

The Gut Biology and Microbiology platform brings together unique expertises in the area of microbiology, digestive health and medicine to scientifically substantiate current nutritional concepts and in bringing new health benefits to Danone products. 

Danone Research Wageningen

Jan Knol, PhD, is Director of the Gut Biology & Microbiology platform at the Danone Research Center for Specialised Nutrition since 2007. Prior to this, Jan has held various positions in the area of Gut Biology and Microbiology within Numico and Nutricia Resarch.


Richèle D. Wind, PhD, is a teamleader Probiotics and Fermentation within the Gut Biology& Microbiology platform at the Danone Research Center for Specialised Nutrition since 2004.


Jolanda M. Lambert, PhD, is Scientist in the Probiotics and Fermentation team within the Gut Biology & Microbiology platform at the Danone Research center since 2010.

Material Ressources

Real time-PCR, FISH-Image analysis; Cell and tissue culture equipment; Fermentation unit; FCM unit; TNO models (large and small intestine); Anaerobic culturing, Probiotic culture collection.

3 Key publications

  • Qin J et al. (2010). A human gut microbial gene catalog established by deep metagenomic sequencing. Nature 464: 59-65. [Pubmed]
  • Van Hoffen E, Korthagen NM, De Kivit S, Schouten B, Bardoel B, Duivelshof A, Knol J, Garssen J, and LEM Willemsen (2010). Exposure of intestinal epithelial cells to UV-killed Lactobacillus GG but not Bifidobacterium breve enhances the effector immune response in vitro. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 152:159-168. [Pubmed]
  • Martin R, Nauta A, Amor KB, Knippels L, Knol J, and J Garssen (2010). Early life: gut microbiota and immune development in infancy. Beneficial Microbes, accepted.