Skip to main content

UNDERSTANDING THE BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF DIETARY COMPLEX PHENOLS AND TANNINS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CONSUMER'S HEALTH AND WELL BEING

Objective



The problem to be addressed concerns the lack of knowledge surrounding the
biological effects of the hundreds or thousands of grams per year complex phenols and tannins consumed annually by virtually all adults in the EU. The quantities vary depending on the diet and the burden varies qualitatively with regard to the relative proportions of condensed tannin, ellagitannins and several types of complex phenols (or derived tannins). There are marked geographic variations in diet, and hence consumption of complex phenols and tannins, across the EU and these might be associated with known variations in the incidence of certain chronic diseases. That complex phenols and tannins exert biological effects seems not to be disputed, but the mechanisms (local, endocrine or systemic) are largely unknown, and whether the effects are beneficial or deleterious remains controversial and almost certainly depends on which substance(s) is being considered and under what circumstances. It is therefore timely that the biological properties of the various types of complex phenols and tannins are compared.

The overall objective of this project is to gain an understanding of the biological
effects of the complex phenols and tannins in the human diet and their implications for the health and general well-being of the European consumer. In particular, the study will seek to determine whether selected complex phenols and tannins :
- impair or enhance the absorption of selected minerals;
- offer protection against dietary and environmental toxicants;
- are associated epidemiologically and/or influence experimentally the risk of
colon cancer and other chronic diseases and;
- where biological effects are observed, the mechanisms responsible and
significance.

The approach is :
- to isolate or synthesise the complex phenols and tannins to be tested;
- to screen these fractions in vitro;
- to test the most relevant fractions in animal studies;
- to collect and analyze dietary and epidemiological data across the EU;
- to assess free-living volunteers using biomarkers of exposure and biological effects;
- to integrate the data obtained and formulate a hypothesis regarding the
human significance of complex phenols and tannins in the diet.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF SURREY
Address

GU2 7XH Guildford
United Kingdom

Participants (11)

BBSRC Institute of Food Research
United Kingdom
Address
Norwich Research Park Colney Lane
NR4 7UA Norwich
Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico
Italy
Address
Via Scopeti 155
50026 San Casciano Val Di Pesa
ECOLE EUROPEENNE DES HAUTES ETUDES DES INDUSTRIES CHIMIQUES DE STRASBOURG
France
Address
Blaise Pascal, 1 - B.p. 296
67008 Strasbourg
ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE
France
Address
Rue Lhomond, 24
75231 Paris
EIDGENÖSSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE - ZÜRICH
Switzerland
Address
P.o. Box 474
8803 Rüschlikon
I.N.R.A.
France
Address
Place Pierre Viala, 2
34060 Montpellier
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION - R.I.V.M.
Netherlands
Address
A. Van Leeuwenhoeklaan, 9 - P.o. Box 1
3720 BA Bilthoven
NETHERLANDS INSTITUTE OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Netherlands
UNIVERSIDAD DE SALAMANCA
Spain
Address
Avda. Del Campo Charro, S/n
37007 Salamanca
UNIVERSITY OF FLORENCE
Italy
Address
Viale G. Pieraccini 6
50139 Firenze
Unilever UK Central Resources Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Colworth House
MK44 1LQ Sharnbrook