University of Helsinki runs the multidisciplinary ADELE ecosystem project jointly with Tampere University.

Business Finland finances the project in 2018-2021 for two million euros. The ADELE ecosystem project develops solutions to prevent the development of immune-mediated diseases. Currently, more than every fifth person in developed countries suffers from these diseases such as allergies, atopy and type 1 diabetes. These diseases increase globally as urbanization has decreased contacts with forests and agricultural environments. Repeated exposure to nature’s microbial diversity has been considered as a key in protecting against these diseases. Particularly important is exposure to a diverse microbial community in forests and agricultural areas. We have found out – for the first time in science – how direct exposure to plant and soil based organic materials modifies immune response in humans, and how commensal microbiota (skin, stool) is altered during exposure to such materials. These studies are the basis of our currently ongoing intervention trials, such as the PREVALL trial.

PREVALL experiment aims to reduce the probability of allergy among small children using highly diverse microbiological inoculate originating in organic materials derived from nature. The study recruits 350 children who belong to either intervention or control arm. The children will be followed for three years. The study is conducted as part of the ADELE ecosystem project. For participants and those interested in joining the experiment there is more information in Finnish.

The ADELE ecosystem project aims at consumer products containing the beneficial nature exposure. These products include a nature-derived, immunomodulatory component which supports the normal development of immune system and protects against immune-mediated diseases. Currently, such products are not available, and therefore the developed technologies can be protected by patents. In the initial phase, co-project partners are Finlayson Oy, Melli EcoDesign and Biotus Oy. In kind support is offered by Biolan Oy, Delipap Oy, Orion Corporation and Naava Oy.