A new project called ImmunoGarden (2018–2019) will be funded by TEKES (New business from research ideas -funding). ImmunoGarden will develop garden- and landscaping materials that are scientifically proven to enhance the diverse and healthy microbial community on skin, and aid in the development and normal functioning of immune system. In addition, ImmunoGarden materials speed up the biological degradation of environmental contaminants. The project is based on the fact that incidence of immune mediated diseases, such as asthma, type 1 diabetes and allergic disorders, has increased rapidly among urban populations worldwide. Declining biodiversity at the urban areas and the improved hygiene are the two main reasons to this increase. Another important factor that poses a risk to human health is environmental contaminants released by humans at urban areas, e.g. from traffic.
Proof-of-concept materials developed in ImmunoGarden are designed to meet the needs of cities and states, a broad range of enterprises and health-oriented private users. ImmunoGarden -materials will be designed to decrease the risk of allergic disorders and autoimmune diseases and reduce the concentration of harmful compounds at urban environment. ImmunoGarden targets for health promoting materials using forestry by-products. Thanks to this, the price tag will be competitive and the project enhances bioeconomy and circular economy.