Germany-based company Metabolomic Discoveries has established a research program to analyze the chemical properties of 1,000 different organisms and biological materials, including widely-consumed foods and beverages.
Dubbed the 1000 Metabolomes Program, the project is designed to reveal the metabolomic composition of the products studied in a way that could help companies produce new and safer functional foods, beverages, supplements and cosmetics.
Metabolomics is a form of analytical chemistry that allows scientists to identify and analyze large numbers of even the tiniest compounds found in organic matter, including edible crops such as fruit and vegetables.
The discipline gets its name from the fact it is designed primarily to detect metabolites – small molecules – in a biological sample. These might be primary metabolites such as amino acids and vitamins, or secondary metabolites such as the colored compounds found in plants – carotenoids for example.
Metabolomic Discoveries said it was co-operating with a variety of organizations on the 1000 Metabolomes Program and was looking for more partners. Once it has analyzed all 1,000 samples, it intends to set up an extensive compound database that could become a valuable source of information for further research.
Nicolas Schauer, CEO of Metabolomic Discoveries, said: “Until now, the biochemical composition of many organisms and biological products has been pretty much in the dark. Extensive research in the last decades was not able to shed light on the total metabolic composition of biological samples, the so-called metabolome, due to lack of technology and interest.”
Senior scientist Martin Lehmann added: “Today, we are able to explore at once the complete metabolite composition of any given sample. At Metabolomic Discoveries we use novel technologies to unravel the metabolic composition of popular food and beverages like honey, chocolate, pepper, apple, banana, coffee, beer or wine. This knowledge will help us understand and identify flavor properties and nutritional values, as well as unnatural by-products and to recognize those as contaminants.”
Visit metabolomicdiscoveries.com for more information.