Pivotal assessment of the effects of bioactives on health and wellbeing

The general objective of PATHWAY-27 project addresses the exploitation of bioactive compounds as ingredients of foods that, within the common diet, could significantly benefit human health and wellbeing. The project uses three model compounds (docosahexaenoic acid - DHA, beta-glucan - BG, and anthocyanins - AC) and three model food matrices (bakery, dairy and egg products) to derive conclusions that would be widely applicable. The project is supported by the EU within the seventh framework programme, coordinated by the University of Bologna (Alma Mater Studiorum Universitá di Bologna – UNIBO), and includes 25 partners broadly distributed in Europe including one Candidate Country (Turkey).


The objectives of PATHWAY-27 are to better understand the potential benefits and mechanisms of action of the selected bioactive compounds on metabolic syndrome (MS)-related endpoints and to develop improved food formulations leading to the production of bioactive-enriched foods with a scientifically demonstrated impact on health. Based on the gained knowledge on bioavailability, activity, synergism and mechanisms of action of bioactive compounds, guidelines and best practices for undertaking intervention studies, validating innovative biomarkers, and substantiating nutritional and health claims on bioactive enriched food will be developed by the project. In addition the project will support the implementation of European legislation on health and nutrition claims. 

Role of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ Heidelberg)

DKFZ’s specific task is to analyze epigenetic effects of the bioactive compounds in vitro and in vivo. In addition, DKFZ is leading the workpackage on ‘Understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of the PATHWAY-27 bioactive enriched foods (BEFs)’. This workpackage will focus on the influence of different food matrices on the bioavailability of bioactives, the impact of genetic profiles on BEF efficacy, and will investigate the effects of BEF intervention on the metabolome, DNA methylation as an epigenetic mechanism in fat biopsies and white blood cells, and on the gut microbiota. The aim is to provide an integrated evaluation of the mechanisms underlying the effects of BEF consumption on physiological endpoints related to MS.

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