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European research on functional effects of dietary antioxidants

Contract number : QLK1-1999-00179
Contract type : Concerted Action
Total cost : € 574.076
EC contribution : € 574.076
Starting date : 1/02/2000
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Rosanna d'Amario
Project website :
Dr Siân Astley
Institute of Food Research
Diet, Health and Consumer Sciences Division
Norwich Research Park, Colney
NR7 4UA Norwich
United Kingdom
Tel.: +44-1603-255368
Fax: +44-1603-255237
E-mail: sian.astley @

Research on the functional role that dietary antioxidants play in promoting health by minimising damage to cells from oxidative damage is as yet uncoordinated in Europe. The project will coordinate this research by:

  • European Network for the coordination and exchange of information on the functional effects of antioxidants in food,
  • prioritising research tasks to stimulate coordination of future research,
  • disseminating outputs to end users.
  • These objectives will be achieved through a series of task group and plenary meetings which will review:
  • measurement methods of DNA damage and repair,
  • data on antioxidants bioavailability,
  • their effects on gene expression,
  • their possible role in limiting the decline in mitochondrial efficiency with age. This will be achieved through a series of meetings, conferences, publications and dissemination events targeted at end users.
  • Set up a European research network to exchange information on the results of research into the functional effects of antioxidants present in foods
  • Identify the research that will be necessary to fill gaps in knowledge about their effects on health
  • Encourage proactive research collaboration between scientists working on different aspects of the functional effects of antioxidants
  • Disseminate the information that is obtained to end users in the scientific community, consumer groups, legislators and the food industry.
(expected) Results and achievements

The project will produce a series of reviews that describe the current knowledge about the possible role that reactive oxidative species (ROS) play in the initiation of disease and the process of ageing. The potential for dietary antioxidants to reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress will be assessed, the gaps in knowledge identified and priority research goals defined.

The project will:

  • Review the known effects of antioxidants at the molecular, cellular, tissue and whole body level;
  • Review the reliability and reproducibility of the general and gene-specific methods which have been used to determine oxidative damage and its repair, and the strength and weaknesses of existing biomarkers to measure this damage;
  • Exchange information on the 'true' bioavailability of antioxidants;
  • Evaluate the data that are available on the effects of antioxidants on gene expression at nutritionally relevant levels of intake;
  • Review the data that are available on the effects of antioxidants on mitochondrial function; and
  • Analyse the evidence that links specific functional events that result from ROS production and how antioxidants could influence the process.

A series of working groups will be set up and their outputs considered at a plenary meeting. The project will culminate in the organisation of an international meeting on the functional effects of antioxidants. The results of this work will be widely disseminated.


The growing evidence that ROS generation is responsible for the onset of a wide range of diseases of ageing, and that the processes involved can be ameliorated by dietary factors, places this area at the forefront of the Quality of Life and Living Resources Key Action. The need to encourage relevant research to establish how the onset of diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, cataract, and neurological dysfunction as a result of ageing, might be slowed down could have a profound impact on the health budgets of many EU Member States. In addition the project should encourage research which will assist industry to respond to the desire by consumers to eat healthily through the development of novel food products based on sound functional claims. In addition it will assist regulators and the legislative process to regulate products on the market that purport to be effective as dietary supplements and make claims that are not soundly based.


Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Institut für Physiologische Chemie
PO Box 101007
40001 Düsseldorf
University of Liverpool
Department of Medicine
Duncan Building, Dauby Street
L69 3GA Liverpool
United Kingdom
Unilever Nederland BV
Unilever Nutrition Centre
Unilever Research Vlaardingen
Olivier V. Noortlaan 120
PO Box 114
3130 AC Vlaardingen
The Netherlands
P.O. Box 230, Bornsesteeg 45
6700 AE Wageningen
The Netherlands
Centre de Recherche Pernod-Ricard
Avenue du Maréchal Foch 120
Creteil, Cedex 94015 Paris
TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute
Department of Physiology
Utrechtseweg 48
PO Box 360
3700 Zeist
The Netherlands
Institute of Medical Biochemistry and Chemistry
University of Bari
Policlinico, Piazza G. Cesare
70124 Bari
Maastricht University
Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute
Universiteitssingel 50
PO Box 616
6229 Maastricht
The Netherlands
King's College London
Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine
Rayne Institute
St Thomas' Hospital
London SE1 7EH
United Kingdom
The Ludwik Rydvgier Medical University Bydgoszcz
Department of Clinical Biochemistry
Karlowicza 24
85092 Bydgoszcz
Rowett Research Institute
Greenburn Road Bucksburn
Aberdeen AB21 9SB
United Kingdom
Cognis Deutschland GmbH
P.O. Box 13 01 64
40551 Düsseldorf
Nutritional Sciences
Department of Food Science and Technology
Colaiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh
University of Wales Swansea
Centre for Molecular Genetics and Toxicology
School of Biological Sciences
Singleton Park
SA2 8PP Swansea
United Kingdom
Univresity of Copenhagen
Department of Envirionmental and Occupational Medicine
Institute of Public Health
Blegdamsvej 3
PO Box Panum
2200 Copenhagen
Organic Micronutrients
Diet, Heatlh and Consumer Science
Institute of Food Research
Norwich Research Park, Colney
Norwich NR4 7UA
United Kingdom
University College Cork
Department of Food Science and Technology
Colaiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh
Trait Research,
Jealott's Hill International Research Centre,
Bracknell, Berkshire
RG42 6ET
United Kingdom
Depto. de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular
Universidad Salamanca
Campus Miguel Unamuno
37007 Salamanca
Nutrinova Nutrition Specialties and Food Ingredients GmbH
Industriepark Hoechst D706
65926 Frankfurt
Insitute for Nutrition Research
P.O. Box 1046
0316 Oslo
Division of Immunology and cell Biology
University of Münster
Röntgenstrasse 21
48149 Münster
Italian National Research Centers On Aging
Neurobiology of Aging Lab.
Via Birarelli 8
60121 Ancona
Institute of Neurology
University College London
Department of Neurochemistry
Queen Square
WC1N 3BG London
United Kingdom
Depto de Fisologie
Facultad de Medicina
Universidad de Valencia
Avda Blasco Ibañez 17
46010 Valencia
Foods Standards Agency
Nutrition Division
R 310 Ergon House
17 Smith Square
SW1P 3JR London
United Kingdom
Pharmaceutical Sciences, Aston University
Aston Triange
Birmingham B4 7ET
United Kingdom
CNT Karolinska Institute
14157 Stockholm
Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases
Antioxidant Research Group
Guy's King's and St Thomas' School of Biomedical Sciences
Hodgkin Building
London SE1 9RT
United Kingdom
Euro Science Perspectives Ltd
3 Patcham Grange
Brighton BN 1 8UR
United Kingdom

Fifth Framework Programme

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