Dr. Daniel Żarski conducted an industry workshop on zander reproduction

On 14 March, at the Mikołajki Fish Farm, Dr. Daniel Żarski conducted an original theoretical and practical workshop on controlled reproduction of zander. The workshop programme was based on actual knowledge and innovative methods developed by Dr. Żarski over a decade of working with significant aquaculture centres across Europe.

Improving freshwater fish reproduction addresses the need to protect the ichthyofauna of open waters. The choice of zander is not accidental – it is of great economic importance; it is also a very popular product, highly appreciated by consumers in Poland and Europe. It contains a lot of protein, vitamins, micro and macro elements.

The workshop was the first of its kind in Poland. Its aim was to transfer knowledge, raise awareness of aquaculture development among entrepreneurs and promote innovation in the field of fishing and aquaculture. It is also an integral part of the Institute’s development, where we emphasize cooperation with business and the exchange of practices developed in our laboratories with entrepreneurs looking for effective solutions.

Photos courtesy of the City of Mikołajki.

The workshop was part of the project „Centre for Environmental Research and Innovative Food Technologies for Quality of Life” co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Regional Operational Program of the Warmia-Mazury Voivodeship for the years 2014-2020.

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Spring is coming, so turn your face to the sun and grab some vitamin D

After the autumn-winter period, our body needs vitamin D. Scientists have proven that even a balanced and varied diet is not enough to provide the total daily dose of this vitamin, because skin synthesis is its main source for the body. That’s why they advise you to expose your face to the sun in the spring and catch some vitamin D.

The latest recommendations for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in children and adults in Poland have been developed by a team of scientists representing Polish and international medical societies and national specialist consultants. Their consensus, by Prof. Paweł Płudowski and the whole team has just been published in the journal „Nutrients” (https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030695).

The development of the current guidelines was supported by prof. Carsten Carlberg, researcher of vitamin D, currently the leader of the scientific group dealing with nutrigenomics at the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn.

„We cannot rely on diet as the only source of vitamin D – even a balanced and varied one is not enough, so in the autumn and winter everyone should supplement vitamin D” – indicated Prof. Carlberg as the most important message of the publication.

The most well-known action of vitamin D is to maintain an adequate level of calcium in the body to maintain normal bone structure. „This is the main reason why every child should be supplemented with vitamin D from birth – both in winter and summer. In addition, vitamin D is important for training our immune system to work effectively against microbial infections, but not overreacted to possible autoimmune reactions” – explained Prof. Carlberg.

Long-term vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone diseases – rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. „Vitamin D deficiency also causes malfunction of the immune system, leading to increased susceptibility to infectious diseases or autoimmune diseases” – the researcher pointed out.

Prof. Carlberg added that for the average Pole, the level of vitamin D (i.e. the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the blood serum) determining the deficiency is defined below 50 nM (20 ng/ml), although each person is characterized by a different sensitivity to vitamin D.

It has been scientifically proven that even a balanced and varied diet is not able to provide the total daily dose of the body’s demand for vitamin D, because its main source is skin synthesis in contact with UV radiation. However, as the scientists pointed, spending a lot of time indoors, wearing clothes and using sunscreens, as well as low intensity of solar radiation in the autumn and winter months, translates into numerous vitamin D deficiencies during this time.

Therefore, a well-chosen supplementation is crucial. „I suggest choosing the dose of the daily requirement based on body weight – if you weigh up to 75 kg, take 2000 units daily (in the autumn and winter), and if more – 4000 units (but not more; this is the maximum dose)” – advises Prof. Carlberg.

In turn, in the spring and summer months, from April to September, it is worth exposing the skin to the sun (remembering about adequate protection against sunburn). „The time of day is important. Two hours before and after the sun’s zenith (11am-3pm in summer time) are most effective. During this time, 20-30 minutes of exposure of the face and bare shoulders should be enough. Of course, avoiding sunburn each time ” – said Prof. Carlberg.

The scientist added that people who do not spend enough time outdoors even in summer should supplement vitamin D throughout the year.

In the developed guidelines, experts pay particular attention to the need for education in the field of vitamin D supplementation for preventive purposes, addressed primarily to medical societies, medical personnel and decision makers responsible for health policy. They also postulate the inclusion of practical tips on the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in everyday practice.


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PhD student Anna Wójtowicz with award for outstanding conference presentation

MSc. Anna Wójtowicz, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Reproductive Immunology and Pathology, won the award for outstanding oral presentation entitled „The role of Th2 lymphocytes in the development of endometrosis” during the 1st Scientific Conference: Scientific and practical aspects of horse reproduction, held 23-25 February, 2023 at the Horse Stud in Walewice.

Ms. Anna Wójtowicz is doing her doctoral thesis under the supervision of Dr. Anna Szóstek-Mioduchowska.

Endometrosis is a chronic degenerative inflammation of the equine endometrium. It leads to changes in tissue architecture and results in impaired endometrial function and, consequently, early loss of embryos. During the development of endometrosis, an increase in the number of myofibroblasts in the endometrium responsible for the excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) components, such as collagens is observed. Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors play a key role in ECM remodeling. T helper (Th) lymphocytes are involved in the development of pulmonary, renal, and hepatic fibrosis in humans and rodents. So far, it has been shown that Th1 lymphocytes have an anti-fibrotic effect, while Th2 lymphocytes have a profibrotic effect. However, the role of Th2 lymphocytes, and in particular the mediators secreted by them: interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, in the development of endometrosis remains unknown. The study aimed to determine the tissue localization of IL-4 and IL-13 receptors in the endometrium of categories I, IIA, IIB, and III, as well as to examine the effect of IL-4 and IL-13 on fibroblast proliferation and selected markers of fibrosis gene expression.

The research presented at the conference was carried out as part of a research project No. 2019/35/D/NZ9/02989, headed by Dr. Anna Szóstek-Mioduchowska, financed by the National Science Centre.


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International scientific seminar – Prof. Lars-Oliver Klotz

The first international scientific seminar of the Welcoming ERA Chair to Centre of Excellence in Nutrigenomics to optimise health and well-being will take place on 15 March at 10:00 a.m. at the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The seminar series will be inaugurated by Lars-Oliver Klotz, Professor of Nutrigenomics at the Institute of Nutritional Sciences at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany). Prof Klotz conducts research in biochemistry and molecular biology, molecular toxicology and cell biology. During the seminar in Olsztyn, he will give a lecture on „Selenium-binding proteins: from SNP to function”..

The seminar and the meeting with Prof. Klotz will be held at the Department of Food Science of the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences at Tuwima 10 St.

Prof. Lars-Oliver Klotz – BIO

Lars-Oliver Klotz (LOK) is Professor of Nutrigenomics at the Institute of Nutritional Sciences, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany. He is Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences at Friedrich Schiller University. He obtained his Diploma degree (an MSc equivalent) in biochemistry from the University of Tübingen, Germany, followed by a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Düsseldorf, Germany (1998; advisor: Helmut Sies). Following postdoctoral research at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, MD, USA, he obtained his lecturer’s qualification (Habilitation degree) at the University of Düsseldorf. In 2010, he moved to the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, where he was an Associate Professor (tenured) and held the Canada Research Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2013, Dr. Klotz assumed his current position. Dr. Klotz is the 2006 recipient of SFRR-Europe’s Catherine-Pasquier-Award. His research interests include the biochemistry of oxidative stress, stress-induced signal transduction and molecular processes in aging.

Selenium-binding proteins: from SNP to function


Selenium-binding protein 1 (SELENBP1) was identified some thirty years ago as a selenium-containing protein that does not count among the 25 known human selenoproteins harboring selenocysteine residues. It has since been found to be a bona-fide tumor suppressor, but its exact function remained elusive until, in 2018, a series of single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified as the reason for a striking breath malodor of patients in a Dutch hospital. The underlying changes were demonstrated to affect the gene encoding SELENBP1, which was then identified as a methanethiol oxidase.

This presentation will summarize the work on SELENBP1 performed in the Klotz lab regarding the enzymatic activity of SELENBP1, the role of selenium, the role of transition metal ions and the search for a function of this protein, using isolated SELENBP1 mutants, cell culture models and a model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans.


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Dr. Małgorzata Starowicz on the Maillard reaction products

Fat Thursday is the sweetest holiday of the year. On this occasion, we eagerly eat donuts and angel wings, which are traditionally deep-fried. Dr. Małgorzata Starowicz from the Institute’s Department of Chemistry and Biodynamics of Food talks about the phenomena that accompany the preparation of Poles’ favorite sweets, as well as what research related to them is conducted at our Institute.

The cascade of chemical reactions is responsible for the pleasant aroma, taste and brown color of donuts and angel wings. These reactions occur between the sugars and proteins in foods that are subjected to high temperatures. They own their name to their discoverer, French chemist Louis Camille Maillard. We can say that Maillard reactions have two „faces”. On the one hand, they form compounds that shape the taste, smell and color of such food products as bread, coffee, fried meat, beer or honey. In addition, melanoidins formed during the Maillard reaction have antioxidant properties. These naturally brown dyes, found, for example, in the crust of bread, have the ability to capture and neutralize free radicals, and thus can prevent civilization diseases.

On the other hand, the Maillard reaction may produce compounds such as acrylamide, which has been descrobed mutagenic and cancerous. Although the standards for the content of acrylamide in food have not yet been defined, scientists and food producers monitor its content in market products and conduct a number of studies on the improvement of technological processes, selection of raw materials used, or the use of natural food additives. All this to keep the level of acrylamide low in heat-treated products. We currently consume the most of it in chips and fries. The great interest in the topic of acrylamide has led scientists and entrepreneurs to join forces under the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme and together explore the topic of reducing the level of acrylamide in cereal products.

Research conducted at the Department of Chemistry and Biodynamics of Food at the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research PAS has shown that the formation of these, both beneficial and unfavorable, compounds can be changed already at the stage of the technological process. This is possible by choosing the right ingredients, heating temperature and time, adjusting the pH level or water content. The challenge faced by scientists is primarily the development of appropriate recipes and setting the parameters of technological processes in order to balance and lead to increased formation of beneficial compounds, while reducing the amount of unfavorable ones. Our team’s research to date has shown that polyphenolic compounds have a high potential to inhibit the formation of acrylamide. The addition of polyphenols in the form of spices or herbs can effectively reduce the content of acrylamide in confectionery products while increasing the taste and aroma. On the other hand, it is more recommended to bake for a longer time at a lower temperature than to bake for a short time at a high temperature. The tests were carried out for breads baked from various flours (spelt, wheat and rye).


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Prof. Ryszard Amarowicz on the benefits of pulses

On 10 February, we celebrated World Pulses Day. The initiative was born in 2016 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The day aims to popularise these valuable plants. We asked Professor Ryszard Amarowicz, head of the Department of Chemical and Physical Properties of Food, about all the good things that can be found in pulses. (więcej…)

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Publication by Dr. Agnieszka Wacławik’s team selected as Editor’s Choice

The publication by the team of Dr. Agnieszka Wacławik from the Department of Hormone Mechanisms, entitled „Novel role for conceptus signals in mRNA expression regulation by DNA methylation in porcine endometrium during early pregnancy” by P. Kaczyński, V. van der Weijden, E. Goryszewska-Szczurek, M. Baryly, SE Ulbrich and A. Waclawik, was selected as ‚Editor’s choice’ in the prestigious journal Biology of Reproduction 2023, 108(1): 150-168.

‚Edtitor’s choice’ publications are articles that have made a significant contribution to a field of science. The selection of an article as an ‚Editor’s choice’ recognises the authors’ work and highlights the importance of their research in the field of reproductive biology.

Dr. Piotr Kaczyński and the authors mentioned above have described a novel mechanism of embryonic effects on processes related to methylation changes in DNA sequences that may regulate the expression of genes in the endometrium that are important for the development of pregnancy. The findings, published in the journal Biology of Reproduction (2023, 108(1): 150-168, doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioac193), were produced within the framework of the NCN OPUS project (2017/27/B/NZ9/03014) under the direction of Dr. Agnieszka Wacławik, carried out at our Institute and during the internship of Dr. Piotr Kaczyński in the team of Prof S. Ulbrich at the ETH Zurich.

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Phd Student Edyta Walewska with SRF Poster Prize Winner Award

We are happy to announce that PhD student Edyta Walewska from Institute’s Department of Reproductive Immunology and Pathology has been awarded the SRF Poster Prize Winner at recent Fertility 2023 „Reproduction in an ageing world”, held in January 10-14, 2023 in Belfast. The awarded poster is entitled „Impaired decidualisation in obese mice is associated with the upregulation of leptin signalling modulators Socs3 and Ptpn2”.

The research presented at the conference was carried out as part of the following research projects funded by the National Science Centre (NCN):

  • Sonata Bis nr 2019/34/E/NZ4/00349; Principal Investigator Dr. António Galvão
  • Preludium 14 nr2019/35/N/NZ4/03496; Principal Investigator Edyta Walewska

For further information, visit the conference website.

Poster Prize Winners.


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Prof. Ryszard Amarowicz and Prof. Henryk Zieliński honored with Statuettes of St. Jacob

Awards Gala for the President of Olsztyn’s Statuettes of St. Jacob was held on 27 January at the Auditorium in Olsztyn. The committee, chaired by Piotr Grzymowicz, awarded distinctions in six categories for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Two statuettes in the Science category went to scientists from our Institute – Prof. Ryszard Amarowicz and Prof. Henryk Zieliński.

The St. Jacob Statuettes honour outstanding people living and working in the capital of Warmia and Mazury who are particularly involved in the life of the city, create its scientific, cultural and economic achievements, and thus shape the image of Olsztyn.

Prof. Ryszard Amarowicz – Statuette of St. Jacob 2020

In 1980, while a graduate of the Faculty of Food Technology at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, he joined the Faculty of Food Technology at the Agricultural and Technical Academy in Olsztyn. He studied food contamination with pesticides and heavy metals. He was awarded for his teaching activities by the Minister of Science and Higher Education and the Rector of ART. In 1988 he started working at the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences. He currently heads the Department of Chemical and Physical Properties of Food, where he investigates the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties of biologically active compounds in food.

Prof. Amarowicz is the highest ranked scientist from Poland in the field of food science in a ranking published by Stanford University, Elsevier Publishing and SciTech Strategies. More than 380 publications authored by Prof. Amarowicz are recorded in world science databases, cited more than 11,000 times, which gives him a Hirsch index of 57 (according to the Scopus database).

The Professor’s high international position is confirmed by his former and current membership in several editorial boards of world-class scientific journals. He was repeatedly awarded the title of outstanding reviewer of scientific papers, and the Minister of Science and Higher Education entrusted him with the function of chairman of the team evaluating scientific journals in the area of food technology and nutrition. For his remarkable scientific achievements, he was awarded the Golden Cross of Merit by the President of the Republic of Poland and the „Best of the Best” Award by the Marshal of the Warmia and Mazury Region.

Prof. Henryk Zieliński – Statuette of St. Jacob 2022

His relationship with Olsztyn goes back to 1985. As a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, majoring in chemistry, he started working at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Agricultural and Technical Academy in Olsztyn. For his research activity at ART, he was awarded the Bronze Cross of Merit and three times awarded by the Rector of ART. In 1996 he started working at the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. For many years, he headed the Department of the Chemistry and Biodynamics of Food. In 2010-2020, he was the editor-in-chief of the scientific quarterly Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences. In 2023, he took the position of the Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs at the Institute’s Division of Food Sciences.

Prof. Zieliński’s research concerns biologically active compounds in plant raw materials, mainly in cereals, and their functional properties. There are almost 190 publications by Prof. Zieliński recorded in world science databases, cited over 4600 times, which gives him a Hirsch index of 35 (according to the Scopus database). These achievements placed Prof. Zieliński on the list of the Top 2% of the best scientists in the world. He has been recognised and awarded many times for his scientific activities, i.a. by the American Chemical Society and the President of the Republic of Poland, from whom he received the Golden Cross of Merit. In 2022, the team under his direction received the Scientific Award of the Marshal of the Wamia and Mazury Region for research entitled „Buckwheat products of potential importance in the prevention of civilization diseases – a new brand of Warmia and Mazury”. In recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements, in the same year he was awarded the title „Honorary Citizen of the Town of Jabłonowo Pomorskie” by the authorities of his hometown.

These are two more St. Jacob’s Statuettes to add to the Institute’s distinctions, yet the first ones in the ‘Science’ category. So far, the Institute has been honoured with two distinctions in the category of ‚Special merits for Olsztyn’, awarded to Prof. Zenon Zduńczyk (2018) and in recognition of the European Researchers’ Nights organised by the Institute between 2014 and 2017.

Photo credits: Olsztyn24


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Scientific Awards of the Branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn and Białystok

Prof. Agnieszka Wacławik honoured with the Scientific Award of the Branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn and Białystok for significant achievements in the category of biological, agricultural and medical sciences in 2022. Distinction award – based on the recommendation of the Award Committee, for deepening knowledge on understanding the mechanisms regulating two opposing ways of healing skin injuries – went to Prof. Barbara Gawrońska-Kozak. (więcej…)

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