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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Holden, Joanne
item Bhagwat, Seema
item Cutrufelli, Rena

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/2/2006
Publication Date: 5/8/2006
Citation: Holden, J.M., Bhagwat, S.A., Cutrufelli, R.L. Development of USDA's databases for bioactive compounds. Invited talk at the Chocolate Manufacturer's Association in New York, May 8, 2006.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for developing and maintaining composition databases for foods and supplements. Recent hypotheses concerning the possible roles of new bioactive dietary compounds in managing health status has provided the impetus to develop Special Interest Databases for compounds such as individual flavonoids and proanthocyanidins. Many of these compounds occur in plants as primary or secondary metabolites in response to climatic effects or other environmental stressors. In fact, different plant species may have characteristic profiles for certain components. These data complement data for traditional nutrients, e.g. total fat, carbohydrate, protein, minerals and may be used to study the effects of specific dietary patterns in populations. The process of developing Special Interest Databases begins with the collection and evaluation of 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. Intensive analytical methodological research may be needed to develop and validate methods to accurately measure levels of the compounds in different types of foods and dietary supplements. The Proanthocyanidins database, (August 2004), contains values for monomers through polymers of flavan-3-ols for 205 foods. The Flavonoids database,(March 2004, revised June 2006), contains values for five subclasses of dietary flavonoids (flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanidins) for more than 300 foods ( The process of developing databases is an iterative one. As interest in the effects of newly recognized dietary compounds emerges, and as foods change or new foods are introduced renewed efforts are required to develop or expand food composition databases for health research.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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