Biomarkers covering several foods and food components provide an objective measure of actual intake and status, and are an important and urgently needed adjunct to classical food consumption assessments. However, only a few foods are currently covered by validated intake biomarkers.
The Food Biomarker Alliance (FOODBALL) proposes to carry out a systematic exploration and validation of biomarkers to obtain a good coverage of the food intake in different population groups within Europe, by applying metabolomics to discover biomarkers, exploring use of easier sampling techniques and body fluids, revising the current dietary biomarker classification and developing a validation scoring system, applying these on selected new biomarkers, and exploring biological effects using biomarkers of intake.
The FOODBALL consortium includes 22 partners from 11 countries incl. Canada, and has wide access to samples and data from large cohorts and dietary interventions with specific foods. It has nearly unlimited access to state-of-the-art analytical platforms allowing measurement of thousands of metabolites/biomarkers in these samples. FOODBALL will provide a unique platform for sharing knowledge and resources within and beyond the project through development of public databases on food metabolites, software tools, and chemical libraries. It has the potential to revolutionise the nutrition biomarker field.
The Joint Programme Initiative A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL) has formulated its vision as ‘In 2030, all Europeans will have the motivation, ability and opportunity to consume a healthy diet from a variety of foods, have healthy levels of physical activity and the incidence of diet-related diseases will have decreased significantly.’
Joint programming will contribute significantly to the construction of a fully operational European Research Area on the prevention of diet-related diseases and strengthen leadership and competitiveness of the food industry by effectively integrating research in the food-, nutritional-, social- and health sciences to increase knowledge and deliver innovative, novel and improved concepts. To this end various research topics have been defined, including Biomarkers in Nutrition and Health in which FOODBALL was funded.