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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 #442463

Research Project: Laboratory Support for Analysis of Foods for FoodData Central (FDC)

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-10700-004-016-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2027

Provide laboratory support for development and expansion of the USDA-ARS food composition database, FoodData Central, 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). Develop authoritative food composition databases for non-nutritive components that may promote health; examples include glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, flavonoids, and other polyphenols.

The Food Analysis Laboratory Control Center in the Biochemistry Department at Virginia Tech (FALCC-VT), will support the operation of Foundation Foods of FoodData Central. Foods will be sampled across the country (retail and industrial ingredients) and shipped to FALCC-VT where they are examined and logged into the database. Data captured includes when and where the samples were purchased, expiration dates, and other information. Samples will be prepared and, if necessary, homogenized and dispensed into subsamples for analysis and archives/reserves, according to work plans developed at MAFCL. Samples are then shipped to labs with specialized expertise in the analysis of specific components in foods. FALCC-VT performs 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. FALCC-VT develops quality control plans and materials, either procuring certified reference materials (CRM) developed by agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology or developing, preparing, and characterizing control composites in-house. Control composites are included in designated batches of samples for each food matrix/nutrient to be analyzed. The resulting data are reviewed, analyzed, and compiled before submitting to USDA FoodData Central. FALCC-VT maintains ultra-low frozen storage of archived 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.