TNO Nutrition and Food Research of the Netherlands has recently launched a project designed to verify the various claims relating to functional food ingredients.
Called 'Interaction between food components, intestinal micro biota and intestinal mucosa as a function of intestinal health', the three-year project aims to establish an integrated approach to help verify any health claims by using in vitro tools.
TNO said that while these tools had yet to be fully developed, once they had been established they would allow scientists to more clearly ascertain whether statements made by food producers or ingredient manufacturers relating to the beneficial effects of their products were in fact accurate.
The tools will be able to investigate the activity and composition of the intestinal micro biota and their effect on the intestinal epithelium, as well as assessing any potential changes to the health status of the large intestine.
TNO added that it also planned additional studies to investigate the effect on changes in gene-expression of intestinal micro biota and the intestinal epithelium. This, it said, would ensure that the relationship between functional endpoints and gene-expression is accurately mapped, in turn enabling the development of new biomarkers for intestinal health.