BaSeFood (Sustainable exploitation of bioactive components from the Black Sea Area traditional foods) is a collaborative research program funded by the European Commission within Theme 2: Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology of the Seventh Framework Programme .
The BaSeFood research Consortium consists of 13 partners. Six are from all the coastal nations of the Black Sea Area: Russia, Ukraine (2), Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia. The others are from Italy (2), United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal and Serbia.
The project is coordinated by the University of Bologna , Cesena Campus Branch , Italy, for the two aspects of management and finances and scientific coordination.
BaSeFood was launched on April 1st, 2009, and will last three years.
BaSeFood structure and activities have been developed around the following points, inherent to two key concepts of bioactive substances and traditional foods :

  • there is an increased concern, especially in Western, industrialised world, for chronic- degenerative diseases connected to non-optimal nutritional habits;
  • several plant components (bioactives) are presently being studied for their potential positive effects on human health;
  • unifying approaches have been taken, setting up international standards for database management and formats for data acquisition, to which BaSeFood will refer;
  • the health promoting concept is considered a potent tool to add values to food and, as such, is highly considered by the European Food industry;
  • both the science approach to the study of bioactives, and the industrial approach to product development are often lead by technology or science push, not taking sufficiently into account the chain perspective and the opinion of end users;
  • traditional foods are often considered as a concentrate of positive traits, connected to several aspect of their production chain, including positive spontaneous relation with healthy properties.
  • with respect to other areas, the Black sea region foods are still less known.

From an operative point of view, BaSeFood will contribute at scientifically studying bioactives of Black sea area traditional foods by means of rigorous analytical and biological assays, in the context of unifying methodologies and data acquisition, but also considering a vast array of characteristics of traditional foods and consumers issues, in order to put health claims in a favourable context , to be properly understood by people and exploited by processor stakeholders.
BaSeFood will refer to two running FP6 programs: EuroFIR and TRUEFOOD , from which methodologies and basic concepts will be mutuated.
The tuning of BaSeFood activities to broad range international priorities will be supported by a pool of External Advisors.

Project summary
BaSeFood aims to promote sustainable development and exploitation of Traditional Foods of plant origin containing emerging bioactive compounds with putative health effects in the Black Sea Region (BSR).
The objectives of BaSeFood are:

  1. To investigate the knowledge base of traditional foods of the BSR in order to identify those foods to be collected and analysed.
  2. To define, characterise and collect nutrient and bioactive data for a subset of about 30 prioritised traditional foods using previously developed and validated EuroFIR guidelines and bioactive databases, with appropriate analyses.
  3. To carry out case human intervention studies (priority: cardiovascular disease protection), supported by intensive in vitro and in vivo laboratory tests, to address the requirement for supporting evidence in nutrition and health claims.
  4. To accurately map and describe the flow charts of BSR traditional foods preparation and processing, and determine bioactive retention at both laboratory and pilot plant scale in close collaboration with industry partners.
  5. To evaluate attitudes of processors and consumers in order to optimise and enhance the whole food chain for improved availability and health benefits of BSR traditional foods.
  6. To widely disseminate results and findings in order to enhance awareness and sustainable development of traditional foods of the BSR for improved health.

BaSeFood will address the main goals of the original call, in which core points were the substantiation of nutrition/health claims for traditional foods and the cooperation between researchers and stakeholders.
BaSeFood activities will be anyway carried out in a frame of broad sense sustainability, in which issues of local communities, traditional foods, plant resources, biodiversity knowledge and preservation, will be also taken into account. The final aim is to put bioactive substances and related health claims in a favourable, consumers friendly, context, in order to give opportunities to all possible stakeholders, independently of strictly regulatory facts. The recent evolutions of the evaluations of the submitted health claims seem to fully support this integrated approach.

The general objectives of BaSeFood are to contribute in establishing a rationale for integrating the concepts of health promoting foods and traditional foods, in order to create the knowledge base for a sustainable economic development in the area of production and processing of tradition-based healthy foods.
The medium-term strategic lines within which BaSeFood will operate are:
Create opportunities . These will be attained through RTD activities, generating a base of knowledge from which SMEs and other stakeholders can derive transferable information for product development in a European regulatory context.
Create trust . Especially in consumers, in order to enforce the synergy between the health promoting and the traditional food characteristics, and support direct perception of food value, also by addressing environmental, conservation and equity issues.
Specific final objectives are:

  • to produce integrated specific reports of selected traditional foods, which may contribute to proprietary claims at a national or European level, or health and nutritional claims;
  • to produce additional documentation and reports on a larger number of foods and describe all aspects of present available knowledge (main raw materials, other ingredients, ways of preparation, historical and folkloric features), which may prove useful for future proprietary or health claims, or to stimulate the interest of stakeholders;
  • to produce analytical data of the overall nutritional and characteristic bioactive content of selected foods, and compare it with the results available in Food composition databases, with special reference to EuroFIR-BASIS;
  • to produce the documentation of key micro-organisms for both food processing, with special respect to the effect on bioactive retention, and food safety;
  • to generate experimental data from in vitro, in vivo and clinical trials, adequate for health claim substantiation;
  • to generate data about bioactive retention in relation to processing;
  • to generate improved flow charts for traditional foods;
  • produce a list of priority traditional foods with attached health claims on the basis of stakeholders responses;
  • produce survey-based reports on the attitude of various categories of consumers towards Black Sea area traditional foods;
  • to involve a wide range of stakeholders, with special respect to SMEs and local interest groups in the development of the project;
  • to enlarge the knowledge base necessary for a sustainable development of health promoting traditional foods; to establish an interaction with current running initiatives about plant food Bottom of Form

Dr Maria Glibetic




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