BSc Minor Food, Intestinal Homeostasis and Disease (WUFHD) / BSc


Note: the study year 2019-2020 is the last time this minor is offered.

Maintenance of health and prevention of infectious disease are critically dependent on a proper functioning of the immune system in relation to intestinal homeostasis. Therefore, when this homeostasis is compromised by the presence of infectious organisms, toxic compounds,   bacterial dysbiosis, stress-related conditions, and exposure to particular dietary components, the health status of the individual is at risk. Often this condition will not directly result in overt clinical disease but in development of a chronic low-grade, sub clinical inflammation and the start of the development of many chronic diseases in humans and animals, like cardiovascular disease, obesitas, persistent infectious disease, allergy, and thereby lead to loss of quality of life, reproduction and survival. The role of the immune system in the development of several chronic illnesses is increasingly becoming recognised. For many of such chronic adverse conditions allopathic medicine has provided limited tools for treatment and, particularly, prevention. The effectiveness of the immune response is, on the one hand, determined by genetic factors, but to a considerable proportion by non-heritable, i.e. environmental, factors, including life style and food and nutrition. This minor focusses on the consequences of exposure of the body and especially the immune system to dietary components (and in particular milk), both in animals and in humans. This BSc minor is a thematic minor.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

- explain gut structure, microbiota composition, systemic and mucosal (intestinal) immunity and the interactions be­ tween these parameters;

- summarize methods to influence these interactions via targeted diet and nutrition;

- identify major factors that affect the composition and health promoting activities of milk as a major example of a dietary component that adds to nutritional value, immunomodulatory components, and prevention or resolving of disease 

- design innovative dairy products that incorporate consumer demands and add health promoting value to milk and its components

- explain the interplay between exposure to infectious organisms, (immune) defense, and development of inflammation and clinical disease;

- select biomarkers reflecting gastrointestinal health which can be used to predict the outcome of dietary interventions of humans and animals.

Language of Instruction


BSc Minor Coordinator

Prof. dr. ir. H.F.J. Savelkoul

Phone: 0317-(4)83922/83925


Target Group

This minor is interesting for BBI-A, BBI-B, BBI-D, BML, BBT, BAS, BFT, BPW and BVG.