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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 #443113

Research Project: Vocabulary, Thesaurus and Ontology Development for USDA FoodData Central

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-52000-068-083-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 30, 2027

Lack of standardized, connected ontologies spanning domains and disciplines of the food system impedes integration and analyses of diverse data. The long-term goal is to develop connected ontologies to cover the broad spectrum of agricultural (including environmental), nutritional and public health data with the establishment of a USDA Food Knowledge System. The present objective will be to “harmonize” the vocabulary/thesauri presently in existence for use with the newly designed USDA FoodData Central.

Information technology (IT), ontology and data scientist teams at Simon Fraser University will conduct mapping mapping of FoodOn terms to other vocabulary standards (FoodEx2, GS1, and AGROVOC) and FDC terms to ensure that FoodOn can act as a translator between major food product vocabulary systems and be applicable to USDA FoodData Central (FDC). Areas of reuse and alignment of existing vocabularies and thesauri will be investigated as well as selected mapping of existing USDA relational databases with available ontological resources. In addition, the team will create the software tools needed to improve the curation process. Currently the curation tools are not integrated and require significant training to use. The goal of the software system is to reduce the threshold of entry to allow more people (such as food system experts, nutritionists, food/nutrition students, and other domain experts) to help improve term curation. Food domain-specific ontology development will include agricultural field study factor terminology, food phenotypes (physical, molecular, chemical composition, biological components and activities), food production/transformation processes, and FoodON extension to support USDA databases. The interest is to reuse components of existing ontologies, authoritative vocabularies and official classification systems (FoodOn based on Langual, ENVO, UBERON, PO, CROP, GACS, Gene Ontology, OBO Foundry, etc.).