Application of New Technologies and Methods in Nutrition Research – the Example of Phenotypic Flexibility – NutriTech

Total Budget: € 6,000,000NutriTech logo
Consortium: 22 partners
Countries: 16
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 – 30 Jun 2016

NutriTech have created a new animated video on
“Phenotypic Flexibility as a Biomarker of Health”. Check it out by clicking here!

NutriTECH Final Symposium!
13-14 June, 2016, Lisbon, Portugal

Come to NutriTech's Final Symposium on Phenotypic Flexibility in June 2016!


Diet, foods and food components are prime environmental factors affecting the genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome. This life-long interaction largely defines the health state of an individual. The adaptive capacity of the body to alterations in dietary conditions is called ‘phenotypic flexibility’ and is key to the maintenance of overall homeostasis and consequently, health and healthy ageing. On 13-15 June 2016, the NutriTech outputs were presented at the NutriTech Final Symposium that introduced the concept of Phenotypic Flexibility as a potential new concept to quantify and optimise health.


The strategic goals of NutriTech were to:

  • Assess the value of emerging technologies in the quantification of subtle effects of dietary interventions on health;
  • Evaluate the added value of emerging technologies to elucidate mechanisms of action in human studies;
  • Validate the use of emerging technologies for studying human metabolic and physiological adaptive processes in response to shift from a suboptimal to a healthy diet;
  • Develop the integrated quantification of aspects of phenotypic flexibility as biomarkers of diet-related health improvement;
  • Develop methods integrating established as well as emerging technologies to study nutritional effects on health;
  • Provide guidelines and protocols to harmonise the use of the developed integrated methods;
  • Establish a data infrastructure in a global network of laboratories to disseminate and implement the new methods and technologies developed in nutrition research;
  • Valorise the new integrated technologies for the food industry in a renewed effort to demonstrate health benefits of defined dietary interventions.

Role of ILSI Europe

ILSI Europe, via its Functional Foods Task Force, was leader of the ‘Harmonisation and Dissemination’ work package. Our role was to disseminate the harmonised and integrated technologies developed as part of NutriTech on a global scale via a large academic network including 6 non-EU partners.


  • ILSI Europe organised a symposium on Phenotypic Flexibility’ on 4-7 February 2013 in Madrid, Spain. Hosted with the support of three other projects (NuGO, PhenPlex, BIOCLAIMS), the aim was to discuss the concept, mechanisms, consequences and relationship with the diet of phenotypic flexibility, its application as biomarker in nutrition and health research.
  • ILSI Europe then co-organised the 1st International Workshop on The Food Metabolome and Biomarkers for Dietary Exposure: Metabolomic Approaches for Biomarker Discovery, Validation and Implementation that took place in July 2013, in Glasgow, UK. The goal of the workshop was to identify how best to acquire and exploit new knowledge in the field, in order to find new biomarkers of dietary exposure required for epidemiological and clinical studies. The conclusions of the workshop have been published in a review paper entitled The Food Metabolome: A Window Over Dietary Exposure (A. Scalbert et al., 2014).
  • A NutriTech brochure was developed by ILSI Europe that summarises the objectives, structure, timeframe and partners of the project.
  • ILSI Europe played a leading role in the organisation of 3 dissemination events in 2015: a workshop in Boston, US, in April 2015 as part of the Experimental Biology Conference, a session at the 12th FENS European Nutrition Conference (FENS 2015) in October 2015 in Berlin, Germany, and a workshop in Seoul, Korea, end of November 2015 as part of the International Conference on Food Factors. A data integration meeting took place in June 2015 in Varna, Bulgaria, to discuss the results of the main NutriTech intervention study.
  • On 13-15 June 2016, the NutriTech outputs were presented at the NutriTech Final Symposium that focused on the concept of Phenotypic Flexibility as a new concept to quantify and optimise health in relation to nutrition research (see animation video). Organised by ILSI Europe. This symposium intended to exploit the concepts, mechanisms, technologies, quantification, consequences and interventions that shape, maintain, regain and optimise phenotypic flexibility and systems flexibility. In addition, it also provided practical solutions to implement these approaches and / or to design healthy ageing strategies in nutrition and health research, in healthcare and in food industry (product development and health claim substantiation).

Expected Impact

The impact of NutriTech will be multifold. Exploitation will be crucial as major breakthroughs from developed technology and research are expected. NutriTech applied and evaluated a series of cutting-edge analytical methods to capture subtle physiological processes related to diet and optimal health. The integration of these methods should result in a new generation of tools and biomarkers for nutrition and health research, potentially allowing the transition from diagnosis of diseases to maintaining optimal health.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Stéphane Vidry at or Dr Tobias Recker at