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Food-omics to demonstrate health benefits of food

10th October, 2012

Foodomics studies the properties of foods through the application of advanced “-omics” technologies, i.e. high throughput analyses of genes and gene expression, proteins and metabolites. These have huge analytical potential (and give huge datasets!) that can be applied to solving questions related to food safety, traceability, quality, new foods, functional foods and nutraceuticals.

Several of the health benefits claimed for new foods and ingredients are still controversial, as shown by the large number of applications rejected by the European Food Safety Authority. More scientific evidence is needed to demonstrate (or not) the claimed beneficial effects. Therefore, the adoption of new strategies that are non-hypothesis-directed seems to be essential to understand how bioactive compounds from the diet interact at the molecular and cellular level, as well as to provide better scientific evidence on their health benefits.

In vitro methodologies to investigate mechanism of action of novel compounds are important, as well as the application of these tools to human clinical trials. Nutrigenomics New Zealand has expertise in all of these technologies and in applying them to support the New Zealand food industry in demonstrating health benefits. Key reference: Ibánez et al. Global Foodomics strategy to investigate the health benefits of dietary constituents. Journal of Chromatography A 1248 (2012) 139-153