It is common practice today for nutritional scientists conducting investigations on food consumption to depend on data from questionnaires. A new method holds out promise of more accurate results: dietary metabolomes (the complete set of substances found in the blood and urine after the consumption of food) have been used to analyse the effects of food on people's health, but only a few types of food are currently covered by such biomarkers. The international research consortium FOODBALL plans to develop reliable strategies for determining these indicators in human biofluids.


What impact do the various components of food have on the human body and which quantities are healthy? The substances resulting from the processing of food in the human body can deliver valuable pointers to help answer these questions. While several of these biomarkers have been described in recent years, a systematic method of classification has not yet been established. Within the scope of the European Joint Programming Initiative "A healthy diet for a healthy life", the FOODBALL research consortium is looking to identify suitable biomarkers. The aim of the project is to produce an extensive classification and evaluation of reliable indicators for different population groups in Europe. Combining various scientific approaches, the international study draws on data from large cohorts and explores the use of novel sampling techniques. Scientists from 22 research groups in nine European countries, Canada and New Zealand are taking part in this study.


This comprehensive study marks the first attempt to systematically analyse the metabolic products associated with the consumption of food. Strategies are being developed to detect and identify intake biomarkers. A new platform is in place providing full access to findings and offering a forum for the exchange of know-how. The project will play a pivotal and fundamental role in future nutrition research on the basis of dietary metabolomes.

Original title

The Food Biomarkers Alliance – FOODBALL

Project leaders​

  • Dr. Guy Vergères, Agroscope, Research Division Food Microbial Systems
  • Prof. Dr. François Pralong, Universität Lausanne



Further information on this content


Dr. Guy Vergères Agroscope
Research Division Food Microbial Systems
Schwarzenburgstrasse 161 3003 Bern +41 58 463 81 54