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The Food Biomarkers Alliance

English title The Food Biomarkers Alliance
Applicant Vergères Guy
Number 160618
Funding scheme HDHL Joint Programming Initiative
Research institution Institut für Lebensmittelwissenschaften ILM Agroscope
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Nutritional Research, Vitaminology
Start/End 01.03.2015 - 30.09.2018
Approved amount 597'929.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Nutritional Research, Vitaminology
Molecular Biology

Keywords (4)

Transcriptomics; Food intake; Metabolomics; Biomarkers

Lay Summary (French)

Food Biomarkers Alliance (FOODBALL)
Lay summary
Un problème majeur des sciences nutritionnelles est la difficulté à évaluer précisément la prise alimentaire des sujets participant aux études cliniques. Des biomarqueurs mesurés dans des échantillons tels le sang et l’urine et couvrant une large palette d’aliments sont donc nécessaires à une mesure objective de l'apport alimentaire. Le consortium international Food Biomarkers Alliance (FOODBALL), financé par le programme ‘Joint Programme Initiative - a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’, va mettre en place une plate-forme qui permettra le partage des connaissances et ressources sur les métabolites issus des aliments. Cette plate-forme comprendra les banques de données de ces métabolites ainsi que les logiciels pour leur annotation. Une évaluation objective de l'apport alimentaire permettra d'améliorer la sensibilité des études nutritionnelles et, ainsi, d’évaluer plus efficacement l’impact d’aliments spécifique sur la santé. Agroscope et le CHUV sont les partenaires suisses du consortium FOODBALL.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 06.02.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



A major issue in nutritional science is the quality of dietary assessment. Assessment of the intake of foods, food ingredients and food contaminants is an extensive challenge and questionnaires may give biased results. Biomarkers covering several foods and food components may provide an objective measure of actual intake and/or status, and provide an important adjunct to classical methods for dietary assessment. However, only few foods are currently covered by validated intake biomarkers. Although several authorities have presented general concepts for identification of biomarkers in disease, clear recommendations on biomarkers concerning nutrition and health are lacking. Whereas many dietary biomarkers have been described, few are sufficiently validated and accepted as biomarkers of intake and/or nutritional status. Indeed, the rapid development of metabolomics has recently led to a surge of potential biomarkers and new biomarker candidates appear at an increasing rate in the literature. Evaluation of new biomarkers will improve when markers are evaluated in studies with very different study designs, as host factors, study design, artefacts originating from sampling and other factors affecting biomarker detection may affect validity. Several biomarkers may be combined in methods like the triangular method to provide a more reliable quantitative estimate for food or nutrient intake. The Food Biomarkers Alliance (FOODBALL) will make significant advances upon the current situation and develop clear strategies for biomarker discovery and validation. FOODBALL fulfils the urgent need to improve knowledge and use of dietary biomarkers, and proposes to do this by joining international multidisciplinary expertise, efforts and resources.