Dr Rachel Anderson is a Senior Scientist in the Food Nutrition & Health Team at AgResearch in Palmerston North. Her research focuses on how foods effect the interactions between the host and its resident bacteria, in particular how these alter intestinal barrier function. She has a special interest in the role of the obligate anaerobes, which account for the majority of the bacteria in the intestines but are largely unstudied due to the technical difficulties of co-culturing obligate anaerobes (cannot survive in oxygen) and intestinal cells (require oxygen). She is involved in both applied research (e.g. her probiotic research commercialised by Donaghy’s in Procalf-Plus) and fundamental research (e.g. she led a Marsden Fast-Start project). Long-term she aims to benefit NZ by generating evidence for industry to use to substantiate health claims for high-value functional ingredients with intestinal health benefits, thereby contributing to growth in the export revenue of the NZ Agri-food sector.
role of the obligate anaerobes, which account for the majority of the bacteria in the intestines