Start Date: May 01, 2010
End Date: Apr 30, 2015
The USDA-ARS and the North Carolina Research Campus will cooperate for the purpose of developing a program in Individualized Nutrition: Interactions between Plant Food Consumption and Human Health Outcomes. The purpose of the program is to conduct research studies, analyze data and publish scientific findings that determine how dietary intakes of plant foods promote specific measures of health in human populations. Studies may use a wide variety of plant foods and components of plant foods, and studies may focus on a wide array of human processes and measures of health including cardiovascular health, optimal weight control, control of blood sugar levels, reduction of cancer risk, and maintenance of cognitive abilities. In parallel with human studies, in vitro & animal studies will examine specific mechanisms that may be responsible for observed health effects in humans. Particular emphasis will be on genomic, epigenetic, and metabolomic profiles that may help define groups of humans that do or do not respond to specific interventions with food or food-based chemicals. Simultaneous with work being conducted on the human nutritional aspects of eating healthy plant foods, research will also focus on plants and how they may be improved to further benefit health. Specific studies will focus on how genetic and epigenetic factors that may influence plant germplasm in regards to nutritionally important traits, whether breeding selection for improved production traits alters nutritionally important variables and how nutritionally important traits can be incorporated into a successful plant breeding strategy. Other work will focus on the production aspects of plant foods and will determine the effects of agricultural production regimens, post-harvest processing variables and physico-chemical and climatic inputs on the bioactive phytochemical composition of the plant as well as the bioefficacy for improvement of specific measures of chronic health.