New Functional Food based on marine raw materials

– We expect to detect new bioactive material in fish- and sea food components, professor Rolf Kristian Berge at the University of Bergen says. – If we do, our research will enable the food industry to develop new functional food products that can help prevent lifestyle diseases. Professor Berge is the co-ordinator for one of three new Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) in Food, Nutrition & Health research.
 New Functional Food based on marine raw materials
The newly established research centre Nordic Centre for Bioactive Food Components and Prevention of Lifestyle diseases (MitoHealth) intends to find out more about how sea food can prevent modern lifestyle diseases. Exactly what substances in fish and sea food have health benefits? Do marine organisms comprise other bioactive components in addition to the well known fish oils?

The metabolism of nutrients in our bodies takes place in the cells’ so called mithocondria. The project idea of MitoHealth is to improve the metabolic process in the cells, and thus prevent the development of different lifestyle diseases. The researchers believe that marine organisms comprise unknown substances that can improve the functioning of the mithocondria and improve metabolism.

The project results will be put to the benefit of Nordic consumers. One of the project goals is to contribute to the development of new functional food for the Nordic market. Functional food is any fresh or processed food that claim to have a health-promoting and/or disease-preventing property beyond the basic nutritional function of supplying nutrients. MitoHealth’s industry partner is already involved and has provided raw material for the research programme.

Documentation requirements is one of the tough challenges in the development and commercialisation of Functional Food: Both the identification of functional substances and their health benefits, must be thoroughly documented. “This is where an extensive, joint Nordic research project like MitoHealth can provide the food industry with important results and documentation facts”, Berge emphasizes. “Research-based documentation also provides a scientific basis that enables a strict evaluation of the food safety associated with marine nutritional components and functional food.”

MitoHealth, Centre for BioactiveFood Components and Prevention of Lifestyle Diseases, is one of three Nordic research centres on food, nutrition and health that has been appointed a “Nordic Centre of Excellence” by the NordForsk board. All three centres in the Food-programme were presented at a kick-off event in Oslo 4 June 2007.