Using omics technology to characterize and quantify biomolecules for better nutrition

Maya Rajasekaran, Senior Adviser, Strategic Program Development at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), says that food is the single biggest determinant of human health and disease throughout life, and yet comprehensive the understanding of the composition of what we eat remains unknown.

Moreover, the unlocking of biochemical profiles and bioactive compounds in food opens up new opportunities for human health, sustainable agriculture and better nutrition.

There are over 26,000 different, defined biochemicals in food, but food composition databases and research focus on only about 150 of them, so there is still a lot of “dark food matter” that makes up the food we eat every day.

In Foodomics: A Data-Based Approach to Revolutionizing Nutrition and Sustainable Diets, published in May 2022, researchers outline the potential of Foodomics, the application of omics technology to characterize and quantify biomolecules to improve well-being.

Foodomics is a discipline for the study of food and nutrition through the application of modern omics technologies such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

They also outline the foundations and first fruits of the Periodic Table of Food Initiative, which aims to develop and use low-cost mass spectrometry kits, cloud analytics tools and a public database for quantitative and qualitative analysis of the most important foods around the world.

Today, targeted analysis of the full range of nutrients in food is an expensive undertaking, costing up to $ 50,000 for regulatory analysis. New analytical technologies can reduce the cost of analysis, just as the cost of genomic analysis decreases with modern technology

Maya Rajasekaran, Senior Adviser, Strategic Program Development, Alliance of Bioversity International, International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Lower-cost food tools will open up new opportunities, including the democratization of technologies for wider use around the world.

“The creation of the next generation of a comprehensive global food composition database will open up new research areas linking agriculture, nutrition and health,” Rajasekaran said.

Collaboration with the American Heart Association

Dr Selena Ahmed, global director of the American Heart Association’s Periodic Table of Food Initiative and lead author, said the paper itself offers a vision for the role of foodomics as a data-based approach to solving solutions to food system challenges. .

Ahmed says the American Heart Association is working with the Alliance to lead the management of PTFI, which aims to comprehensively assess what is in food using sound and standardized analytical methods.

“AHA brings its expertise in human health with a focus on preventative lifestyle solutions informed by rigorous science, and AHA’s expertise complements that of the Bioversity Alliance and CIAT as a leader in agricultural research. she says, adding that the AHA-Alliance partnership is an innovative collaboration that breaks down traditional silos – the kind needed to develop transformative solutions for our broken food systems.

“While the last 100 years of agricultural history have focused on yields and calories, foodomics allows us to focus on crop quality and food quality based on food composition.

Source:

The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Reference in the magazine:

Ahmed, S., et al. (2022) Foodomics: A Data-Based Approach to Revolutionizing Nutrition and Sustainable Diets. Limits in nutrition. doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.874312

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