Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Application of new technologies and methods in nutrition research – The example of phenotypic flexibility (Nutrition)

Project acronym: NutriTech

Title of project: Application of new technologies and methods in nutrition research – The example of phenotypic flexibility

Research area: Nutrition

Contract No: 289511

EU contribution: € 5 986 490

Start date: January 2012

Duration: 48 months

Status: on-going

NutriTech is building on the foundations of traditional human nutrition research using cutting-edge analytical technologies and methods to comprehensively evaluate the diet-health relationship and critically assess their usefulness for the future of nutrition research and human well-being.

The technologies NutriTech is using include genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, laser scanning cytometry, NMR-based lipoprotein profiling and advanced imaging by MRI/MRS.

All the methods are applied in an integrated manner to quantify the effect of diet on phenotypic flexibility, based on metabolic flexibility (the capacity for the organism to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability). However, NutriTech is going beyond the state-of-the-art by applying these integrated methods to assess the underlying and related cell-biological and genetic mechanisms and the multiple physiological processes of adaptation when homeostasis is challenged.

The strategic goals of NutriTech are to:

  • evaluate emerging technologies in the quantification of subtle effects of dietary interventions on health;
  • evaluate the added value of emerging technologies for elucidating mechanisms of action in human studies;
  • validate the use of emerging technologies for studying human metabolic and physiological adaptive processes in response to a shift from a suboptimal to a healthy diet;
  • develop the integrated quantification of aspects of phenotypic flexibility as biomarkers of diet-related health improvement;
  • develop methods integrating established, as well as emerging technologies to study nutritional effects on health;
  • provide guidelines and protocols to harmonise the use of the developed integrated methods;
  • establish a data infrastructure between a global network of laboratories to disseminate and implement the new methods and technologies developed in nutrition research;
  • valorise the new integrated technology for the food industry in a renewed effort to demonstrate the health benefits of defined dietary interventions.

NutriTech will disseminate the harmonised and integrated technologies on a global scale through a large academic network, including six non-EU partners, and by providing an integrated and standardised data storage and evaluation platform.

The impact of NutriTech will be multi-fold, and exploitation is crucial as major breakthroughs from its technology and research are expected. Exploitation will be achieved through collaboration with a consortium of five major food industries, and through the exploitation of specific technologies by six SME partners. Overall, NutriTech will lay the foundations for the successful integration of emerging technologies into nutrition research.

Website of project:

Coordinator: Dr. Ben van Ommen,

Organisation: Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek– TNO, the Netherlands,