A substance or a compound has a biological activity if it has direct effects on a living organism. These effects can both be adverse or beneficial depending on the substance, the dose or the bioavailability. The term food bioactive compound or component (from now referred to as food bioactives) is usually only associated with positive effects on an organism. One definition is that food bioactives affect status of health and therefore have an added biological value beyond their caloric content. However, there is no unifying definition.
Food bioactives are present in foodstuffs of both plant and animal origin. Epidemiological studies show a positive relationship between dietary intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and fermented milk products and health status. All of these foodstuffs contain known bioactives such as dietary fibres, phytosterols, carotenoids, peptides, bioactive lipids and probiotics. The effects on health of these bioactives are well documented but less is known about the cellular mechanisms by which they act.
The research involved in the Food Bioactives Centre focuses on bioactives naturally present in foods, the effects of food processing and digestion. This includes effects on the bioactivity of the compound of interest after culturing, harvesting, processing and gastrointestinal uptake. Some of the research focuses on mechanisms and health beneficial effects, involving animal and human studies.
Last modified: January 04, 2012