UMAMI: The Unusual Microbiomes And Metabolites of Inuit Foods

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Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann


DKK 850,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


Umami is the distinct flavor of meat. The UMAMI project is a project about meat, more precisely traditional fermented meats in the Greenlandic Inuit diet. The UMAMI project will describe the microbial community (microbiomes), metabolites (metabolomes) as well as preparation-methods and cultural importance of four different types of Inuit fermented foods, namely kiviaq (fermented seabirds), snow-fermented cod, dried intestines of a variety of animals and finally fermented eggs.


The UMAMI project can add important nuances to our current assumptions about healthy diets. The projects is built on the hypothesis that the traditional Greenlandic diet is a healthy diet, despite the fact that it is a predominantly animal-sourced diet in contrast to conventional diet recommendations. The project will assess the link between traditional animal-sourced foods and the human gut microbiome, the ecosystem in our stomachs, and investigate how and if animal-sourced foods can be sources of healthy metabolites and potentially alleviate negative compounds otherwise known from animal-sourced foods. Finally, the UMAMI project will approach the foods with a deep respect for local Greenlandic food culture.


Sampling of fermented foods and assessment of preparations-methods in Greenland have been conducted prior to the beginning of the project. Processing of microbiome and metabolome data is ongoing. The two-year period of the project will be utilized to bring data into an expert environment and to disseminate the results of the project to a scientific as well as a public community, with particular focus on the communities in Greenland.

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