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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438742

Research Project: Development of Databases on Composition of U.S. Foods

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-10700-004-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Jul 31, 2025

Objective 1. Develop and expand the USDA-ARS food composition databases to represent the dynamics of the U.S. food supply, including increased use of commercially packaged foods, restaurant foods, school foods, and ethnic foods. Sub-Objective 1.A. Update the USDA food composition databases to represent the dynamics of the current U.S. food supply, including increased availability and variety of basic commodities and ingredients (such as soy flour, concentrates and isolates, cereal grains and flours, fruits and vegetables), restaurant/school/ and ethnic foods. Objective 2. Develop authoritative food composition databases for non-nutritive components that may promote health; examples include isothiocyanates and other sulfur-containing compounds. Expand existing databases, including flavonoids, to include more foods, variability estimates, and other information (cultivar, weather, growing conditions, etc.), which impact the nutrient values. Sub-Objective 2.A. Expand and update accurate representative values for a number of bioactive compounds in raw, processed, and prepared foods. Sub-Objective 2.B. Develop new data on the content of sulfur-containing bioactive compounds in selected foods, with special emphasis on variability and factors, e.g., cultivar, location, and growing conditions, which potentially could influence variability. Sub-Objective 2.C. Determine the effect of various preparation methods on the content of various bioactive compounds and select nutrients (e.g., dietary fiber, vitamins) in selected fruits and vegetables.

Sampling and analysis of foods identified by the Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory (MAFCL), other BHNRC scientists, and Food Analysis Laboratory Control Center at the Biochemistry Department, Virginia Tech (FALCC-VT), specifically for Foundation Foods in the FoodData Central, will be studied, especially focusing on nutrients and compounds of public health importance, nutrients for which wide variability estimates are expected and/or variabilities are unknown and foods which are single ingredient commodities and commodity-derived foods and deemed important in the US food supply. These may include specific crops, animals/cuts, and ingredients. These foods may also be important contributors of bioactive compounds and newly emerging nutrients. Foods identified by the FDC planning team (including FALCC-VT) may be procured through vendors, retail, or local samplings then sent to FALCC-VT for sample preparation, introduction of control materials and shipping to USDA-qualified laboratories for nutrient analysis. In some cases, FALCC-VT may conduct analyses on specific nutrients for which they have experience (e,g., cholesterol, fatty acids, phytosterols, vitamin C, sodium total lipid, and moisture). In addition to preparation (homogenized/aliquoted) of samples, samples will be tracked, especially for purchase data and other agricultural and biological data matching the samples. Archived/backup samples are prepared for repeat analyses and stored at FALCC-VT. Cooking protocols and protocols for preparation (e.g., under Nitrogen) are determined and recorded. FALCC-VT will initiate first Quality Control review and make recommendations to MAFCL leadership for their continued review. FALCC-VT will develop methodology for additional components as necessary, including dietary fiber.