CHICAGO — ADM is partnering with Brightseed, a biotechnology startup, to develop functional synbiotic products.

The partnership will utilize Brightseed’s artificial intelligence platform, Forager, to examine the chemical interactions between dietary plants and gut microbiomes, along with those interactions’ impact on human health. With Forager’s ability to identify bioactive compounds in plants and provide insights about cellular changes, the companies aim to uncover bioactives that are created exclusively through interactions with gut microbes, such as salicylic acid.

“We know from our recent research into global consumer trends that macro forces, including the lingering pandemic, have coincided with an increased demand for natural and plant-based solutions that target immune function, metabolic health and mental well-being,” said Mark Lotsch, president of global health and wellness at ADM. “We are thrilled to partner with Brightseed to lead in state-of-the-art discovery on the microbiome and to bring forward science-backed solutions that empower consumers toward proactive and individualized health.”

The companies are expecting to launch their synbiotics as functional ingredients in foods, beverages, dietary supplements and medical foods, by 2025. Brightseed’s collaboration with ADM marks its second partnership in two years. The company partnered with Danone to investigate bioactives in raw plants in 2021.

“Brightseed and ADM share the conviction that precision health outcomes for consumers should be driving category innovations,” said Sofia Elizondo, co-founder and chief operating officer for Brightseed. “ADM’s advanced understanding of the untapped potential of natural compounds, combined with their vast microbial libraries, is the sum total expertise that will redefine the future of ingredients to promote a healthy microbiome.”

The partnership is also part of ADM’s increased focus on prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics and other functional ingredients and comes just two months after the opening of the company’s new probiotic and postbiotic production facility in Spain.