Submitted to: Nutrition International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2005
Publication Date: 9/18/2005
Citation: Holden, J.M., Bhagwat, S.A., Haytowitz, D.B., Gebhardt, S.E., Harnly, J.M. 2005. USDA’s databases for bioactive compounds in foods. Nutrition International Congress Proceedings, September 18-23, 2005, Durban, South Africa.
Technical Abstract: The USDA National Nutrient Data Bank is the authoritative US source of food composition data for emerging dietary components as well as traditional nutrients. The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL), Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, provides USDA's Nutrient Data Base for Standard Reference (SR) and the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS), the foundation of most other food composition databases including the Survey Nutrient Database for the National Food and Nutrition Surveys, the databases for clinical and metabolic research, and for development of nutrition policy and nutrient requirements. The scientific community has identified several classes of compounds occurring in foods which are being investigated for bioactivity beyond the traditional roles of nutrients. These compounds may occur as secondary metabolites in plant foods in response to environmental stress conditions. Some of the compounds are pigments which provide the color to foods. Databases for selected emerging components (e.g. flavonoids, isoflavonoids) have been developed by scientists in the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in collaboration with scientists in various other universities and the food industry. The process of developing Special Interest Databases begins with the collection and evaluating existing published data. Acceptable analytical methods as well as database structure for compounds of interest are then defined. Data are evaluated using USDA's data evaluation system; acceptable analytical data are compiled, statistically analyzed and released with confidence codes for each data point to indicate the reliability of the data. Gaps in the data help set priorities for future analytical work. As additional data are generated the data may be included into the USDA's SR Database. Some of the first new databases to be developed were for individual carotenoids and for selenium in foods. In recent years, we have developed databases for Proanthocyanidins, Flavonoids, Choline and betaine, and Fluoride. The Proanthocyanidins Database, (August 2004), contains values for monomers through polymers of flavan-3-ols for 205 foods. The Flavonoids Database, (March 2004), contains values for five subclasses of dietary flavonoids (flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanidins) for 220 foods. The Choline Database, (March 2004), contains values for betaine, and total choline for 434 foods. The Fluoride Database, (October 2004), contains values for fluoride for 400 foods and beverages. The process of developing databases is an iterative one. As interest in the effects of new dietary compounds emerges, and as foods (or supplements) change and as analytical methods and quality control improve renewed efforts are required to update databases.