Research into food and health

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research provides a comprehensive platform for monitoring the impacts of food on human health at various levels. Researchers examine the effects of specific food ingredients and products, as well as looking more widely at food consumption patterns and recommendations. They do this from the perspective of general public health, while also considering specific target groups (e.g. the elderly, athletes, etc.) and specific health impacts, such as gut health, digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients, allergic reactions and support for the immune system.

Isolating and characterising specific food components

Wageningen’s experts have access to a wide range of technologies and equipment to isolate, analyse and characterise macro and micronutrients on a large scale. This can be a starting point for further research or implementation. Examples of available technologies include: Acta FPLC, Acta pure, Ata Pilot, UV/Vis, circular dichroism spectroscopy, FT-IR, GC-MS, GC-TOF, PTR-MS, PTR-QiTOF (analysing volatile compounds), Reverse phase analysis and micro- /ultrafiltration.

Biological simulation models

In vitro simulation models are very useful for lead finding and for screening foods and ingredients for their potential impacts on health. Using a wide variety of laboratory models, including intestinal cell lines for various cell types (e.g. epithelial cells and enteroendocrine cells) and digestion and fermentation models (e.g. INFOGEST and SHIME), scientists can carry out detailed research into how food travels through the gastrointestinal tract and how it ultimately affects intestinal and general health. This includes looking at:

  • Bioavailability of specific nutrients, such as amino acids
  • Intestinal barrier function
  • Intestinal metabolic effects
  • Peripheral metabolic effects
  • The immune system
  • Microbiota composition and activity

Animal studies

Wageningen’s experts are able to perform animal studies as a way of validating certain health effects or for mechanical analyses to substantiate health effects. These include specific animal models (e.g. in mice).

Human studies

Controlled feeding interventions are performed as a way of directly studying the effects of food, ingredients and supplements. Such studies can look at amino acid availability in blood, improved bowel function as a result of increased fibre intake, glucose responses to various food products, etc. As well as carrying out research in controlled settings, Wageningen’s experts are also highly experienced at performing human studies in real-life settings, such as at home, in healthcare facilities or in work canteens. These studies help ensure that the potential of food to improve human health is realised and that it actually delivers a social impact.

Supporting novel food dossiers and health claims

Wageningen’s experts help businesses with questions like: “Can my product be sold on the European market?” and "What can I put on the packaging?” by lending support with registrations and responsible consumer-facing communications  

Interested in the possibilities?

Contact us for an informal conversation.