Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory » Research » Research Project #437734

Research Project: Analytic II Prebiotics, Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-52000-066-014-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 31, 2026

Expanded food composition data and research focused on ongoing ARS programs will be established through small and large studies on the changing composition of the US food supply. Emerging nutrients of public health importance will be studied and data will be included in USDA food composition databases that are part of the USDA Food Data Central. Focus will be on key food contributors of nutrients and emerging compounds which have shown potential in disease prevention, especially dietary fiber and its components, including prebiotic carbohydrates, sugars, and starches.

Foods will be sampled according to representative sampling plans that capture expected variability in the composition of the food in the food supply. Samples will either be procured across the country (retail and industrial ingredients) and shipped to The Food Analysis Laboratory Control Center in the Biochemistry Department at Virginia Tech (VT) or directly by VT or USDA. The VT PI will work with USDA ARS scientists to develop sampling and analysis plans and will develop work plans that document how samples are to be logged, processed, and distributed for analysis. Samples will be examined and logged into the STACI sample tracking database, with data captured to include when and where the samples were purchased, ingredients, expiration dates, and other information pertinent to documenting the source and description of the food sample, processed (trimmed, cooked/prepared if necessary), homogenized and dispensed into subsamples for analysis and reserve/archive, using standard protocols developed for the National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) and modified as needed for the Foundation Foods Approach for FDC. VT will ship samples to labs qualified by USDA for analysis, either commercial labs under contract or university labs where specialized expertise in the analysis of specific components in foods, and will also perform analyses of cholesterol, vitamin C, phytosterols, fatty acids (including trans fatty acids and trans fatty acid isomers), sodium, total lipid, and moisture, and will develop methodology for additional components as necessary, including dietary fiber. Research on dietary fiber methodology and optimization will be conducted. VT will develop develop quality control plans for all analyses, to include matrix/nutrient-specific control materials in each analytical batch (certified reference materials (CRM) developed by agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology or control composites developed, prepared, and characterized in-house according to longstanding protocols for the NFNAP). The resulting data are reviewed, analyzed and compiled by MAFCL and will be disseminated in the USDA Food Data Central and in manuscripts. The Food Analysis Laboratory Control Center (FALCC)-VT PI will assist with quality control, including scientific assessment and evaluation of methodology and data. VT will also continue to maintain ultra-low (-60oC) frozen storage of archive and reserve samples and control materials, documentation of sample information and processing, and conducts research on nutrient stability, retention, and other questions related to food composition that pertain to achieving the goals of this project.