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Material Incubator

Powered by Caradt, MNEXT and Delft University of Technology

Microbiome-Centric Dining

Future Food and Eating Practices

Project Leader(s):

Hazal Ertürkan

Project period

December 2022 – December 2023


The human body is an ecosystem hosting billions of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses) on the internal and external surfaces of the body. The total number of microorganisms in the human microbiome exceeds nearly ten times the number of human cells and surpasses more than 200 times the number of human genes. Recent studies have revealed that our growth and development are not solely dictated by our own genes but also significantly influenced by this microbiome habituated in our bodies since our birth. We have an intertwined relationship with our microbiome in that we constantly regulate the composition and number of microorganisms through our diet, lifestyle and habits, and the changes in the microbiome inevitably cause alterations in our functioning, emotional state, and behaviour.

The future alternative food and eating practices are prominent areas in the current research and design endeavours. However, to date, the human microbiome and its effect on the human body has not been taken into account in the process of designing possible future eating practices, including eating rituals and tools, although our diet style serves as a potent force reshaping the microbiome.  But, how would this new awareness about the human body that decentering our ownership of our body and perceiving the human body as an ecology affect our eating behaviour and practices?

This project focuses on understanding the intertwined relationship between the human body and its microbiome to explore possible future microbiome-centric eating practices, where we consider human beings as an ecology providing living space and food for the microbiota rather than seeing the body as an independent entity. This research will be used to create a speculative dinning experience in collaboration with multi sensory and speculative design studio, Polymorf.

The pictures show the initial exploration of the human microbiome that was cultivated from different parts of the body.


Dr Serena Buscone for help and guidance while conducting the experiments in Material Incubator,

Dr Natallia E. Uzunbajakava for sharing her expertise and our inspiring conversations,

Wouter Meys for his support and belief in the project.

Collected human microbiome from different body parts