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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



Maintaining human health and well-being requires a steady and balanced intake of nutrients. Plants and plant-derived foodstuffs are an excellent source of beneficial metabolites, including vitamins and minerals. The metabolites, particularly those found in grains, fruits and vegetables, play a key role in human nutrition. The improvement of nutritional composition in breeding programmes and the optimisation of nutrients in product formulations have therefore developed into important research targets.


DEVELONUTRI draws upon a broad range of interdisciplinary expertise, including breeding, primary production, processing, consumption and nutrition as well as the analytical sciences. The project is exploring ways to ensure optimised nutritional value and safety throughout the food chain. It is developing and validating state-of-the-art metabolite profiling and analysis platforms that can be deployed at all stages of crop improvement, production and processing.

Numerous studies have revealed that there are often protective effects of one metabolite (or nutrient) for another following the complex metabolic processes that can occur post-harvest and post-processing. Therefore, the enhancement of the nutritional value of crops and the maintenance of the elevated nutritional status throughout the food chain and into processed foodstuffs can no longer be carried out on a single compound analytical basis.

In order to face this scientific challenge, DEVELONUTRI applies validated ring test methods to fully assess the added value of technologies in crop and crop-based food analysis using model species, which are economically and socially important in Europe. The focus is on the Solanaceae species (tomato, potato) and cereals (wheat), and it includes traditionally bred genotypes together with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) grown under a range of environmental conditions. Importantly, many samples are derived from existing EU RTD networks, which provide added European value and minimise duplication of research efforts.

The scientific outputs of this project will, among others, result in the compilation of improved standard operating procedures and databases, which facilitate the merging of data from a range of analytical methods. Furthermore, the DEVELONUTRI consortium is engaging and collaborating with SMEs in the practical assessment of raw and processed materials' quality using the validated analytical methods and focusing on standard non-GM raw materials and foods.

Participants from International Cooperation (INCO), Candidate, and Associated Countries are making important contributions to the development of harmonised methodologies at an international level.

The project will disseminate its findings to researchers, industry, consumers and NGOs. The work of the consortium with its platform profiling techniques will produce information that can be used as the foundation for high throughput plant food compositional analysis.

List of Partners

  • Scottish Crop Research Institute (UK)
  • Royal Holloway, University of London (UK)
  • Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (Italy)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)
  • Istituto Sperimentale per la Cerealicoltura (Italy)
  • The Science and Research Council of Turkey (Turkey)
  • Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (Greece)
  • Institutul National de Cercetare- Dezvoltare pentru Chimie si Petrochimie (Romania)
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Molekular Pflanzenphysiologie (Germany)
  • University of Helsinki (Finland)
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (South Africa)
  • Specialist Bioanalytical Services Limited SBS (UK)
  • SWISSMILL Division der COOP (Switzerland)
  • Tamma Industrie Alimentari Di Capitanata (Italy)
  • Solway Veg (UK)

  • National Institute of Science and Technology (United States of America)
  • Bruker BioSpin (Germany)
Full title:
Development of high throughput approaches to optimise the nutritional value of crops and crop-based foods.
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Derek Stewart, Scottish Crop Research Institute,
EC Scientific Officer:
Annette Schneegans,
EU contribution:
€ 3.3M
Specific Targeted Research Project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top