Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - BACCHUS (Beneficial effects of dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols on cardiovascular health in humans)

Executive Summary:
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), a principal cause of morbidity and mortality in Europe, has many lifestyle-related risk factors, which have been the target of past public health programmes. There is strong evidence to suggest that improving dietary habits could reduce the risk of CVD. Consumption of polyphenol- and bioactive peptide-rich foods has enormous potential for beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. However, despite considerable investment from the food industry in this area, there are very few successful health claims for bioactive compounds. Analysis of health claims rejected by EFSA suggests there are particular challenges associated with these compounds.

‘Beneficial effects of dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols on cardiovascular health in humans’ (BACCHUS) has developed tools and resources that facilitate generation of robust and exploitable scientific evidence that could be used to support cause-and-effect relationships between consumption of bioactive peptides or polyphenols, and beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system in humans. The project included research and SME beneficiaries, combining scientific excellence with commercial insight and focussed on: development of methods for characterising and quantifying compounds; improving and extending information resources (particularly linked to intake); generation of data, methods and knowledge on bioavailability and absorption; improvement of models for investigating mechanisms of action; and generation of data from high quality randomised controlled trials (RCTs). In addition, BACCHUS analysed current legislation and sought stakeholder feedback from SMEs on the health claims process.

Eight test foods/extracts were investigated: apple, pomegranate, aronia berry juice, Tensiocontrol (egg ovalbumin peptide), LTP2 wheat peptide, dry-cured pork peptides, Cordiart (sweet orange hesperion extract) and Bonolive/Olecol (olive extract). Each was characterised fully and quantified, and new methods developed, including a novel approach for quantifying ellagitannins, the robustness of which was tested in ring trial. A combined upper and lower gut digestion and transport model in vitro (SHIME) was optimised for polyphenols and bioactive peptides and used to explore the bioavailability and absorption of the eight tests foods/ extracts; demonstrating its values as an exploitable outcome. Biological actions of metabolites from the foods/ extracts were also assessed using cell and animal models, assessing a range of CVD risk markers including ACE inhibition, VEGF concentration, nitric oxide production and vasorelaxant activity. Six RCTs have provided data demonstrating the impact of consumption on cardiovascular outcomes and risk markers in appropriate target groups, highlighting the effect of inter-individual variation on response.

An online survey of more than 100 SMEs was conducted assessing the impact of Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation on food businesses and the results included in the BACCHUS Best Practice Guide for Health Claims Dossiers. eBASIS has been extended with more than 100 data points for bioeffects (on humans) and more than 1000 data points for bioactive composition in plants including wheat and fruit (e.g. aronia) and, for the time, meat, specifically dried cured ham. It has also been linked to the Creme Global Nutrition platform to create a probabilistic model for assessment of bioactive intake amongst European adults.

A major output is the BACCHUS toolkit, which consists of five integrated tools/ resources, for SMEs, researchers and regulators: (1) best practice guidelines for health claims including (2) guidelines for human dietary intervention study design; (3) elearning platform including summaries for most BACCHUS peer-reviewed paper published during the project; (4) access to eBASIS; and (5) access to the eBASIS-Creme Global interface. A number of beneficiaries are working towards a health claim dossier, but more generally their innovation potential and competitiveness have increased through better understanding product potential. Non-commercial exploitation has been achieved through publications in peer-reviewed journals, and exposure at scientific events as posters and oral presentations.

Project Context and Objectives:
BACCHUS has developed and tested tools and resources that will help facilitate generation of robust and exploitable scientific evidence supporting cause-and-effect relationships between consumption of bioactive peptides or polyphenols and beneficial effects related to cardiovascular health in humans. The translation of the extensive research into the potential health benefits of polyphenols and bioactive peptides into successful European health claims has been limited, and BACCHUS has addressed directly the challenges associated with exploitation those of bioactive peptides and polyphenols. The project has also considered current limitations relating to human intervention studies on bioactive food components (e.g. inappropriate study designs and study populations, lack of appropriate placebos, use of inappropriate biomarkers), and establishing the link between bioactives in foods, their bioavailability and metabolism in the human body, and plausible mechanisms of action.

BACCHUS focussed on cardiovascular health because (a) CVD affects so many people across Europe, and there are (b) several easily measured risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and platelet aggregation that are affected by diet, (c) numerous measureable markers of risk that have been accepted as appropriate by EFSA for indicating a beneficial effect in humans, and (d) there is strong evidence that consumption of either or both polyphenols and peptides has beneficial effects on vascular function and CVD. Activities targeted small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and included 15 SME beneficiaries that were developing products with potential for a health claim. The knowledge, tools and resources developed by BACCHUS will underpin health claims for food products containing bioactive peptides and/ or polyphenols and, more widely, support improved formulation of foods and dietary recommendations for consumers.

The SMEs involved in the project were engaged across all work packages (apart from WP8 Management). This helped ensure they (i) benefitted direct from involvement and (ii) provided a commercial perspective on RTD and training activities. There were numerous benefits, such as integration across sectors, and SMEs led three of the work packages, creating a different dynamic from those led by RTD organisations. The General Assembly represented all beneficiaries, promoting real and durable integration, whilst the Executive Board provided a more streamlined approach for day-to-day decision-making.

Project activities were organised across eight work packages (WPs), which were linked to key strategic objectives:

1. Ensure that the BACCHUS beneficiaries were provided with oversight of EU regulations and the EFSA activities concerned with health claims in Europe, and that the project’s R&D activities remain entirely aligned with providing the appropriate scientific evidence required to support health claims in Europe (WP1)
2. Develop bioactive-rich food products and suitable placebo food products that were sufficiently well characterised with respect their content and composition of bioactive constituents, and were suitable for evaluating whether or not there is a cause-effect relationship between consumption of the bioactive and a beneficial physiological effect in humans (WP2)
3. Extend and develop a database containing information on the content and composition and biological activities of bioactives in foods (including their effects in humans), and to develop tools that facilitate modelling of bioactive intakes in European populations (WP3)
4. Develop advanced models and to identify the products that arise as a result of gastrointestinal digestion, microbial (colonic) fermentation and human absorption and metabolism (WP4)
5. Identify biological activities of polyphenol human metabolites and of bioactive peptides and their digestion products that are found in human blood after consumption of polyphenols and peptides (WP5)
6. Generate direct evidence from high quality double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trials in humans that consumption of specific bioactive peptide and polyphenol-enriched foods causes beneficial changes in cardiovascular health (proof of cause and effect), and to investigate dose responses and determine doses that are required in order to cause beneficial physiological effects in humans (effective doses) (WP6)
7. Disseminate the projects findings broadly and effectively by engaging with various stakeholders (researchers, policy makers, industry, and the general public), to provide targeted resources to support R&D and the preparation of health claim dossiers, and to maximise the effectiveness of dissemination and potential uptake of tools and “best practice” procedures within both the scientific and end-user stakeholder communities (WP7)
8. Direct and execute all management activities described in the Consortium Agreement (WP8)

Best practice guidelines for health claim dossiers (WP1) supported work providing internal guidance on the development of successful health claims dossiers, which are in keeping with the principles used by EFSA. Specific objectives were to:
• Review EFSA opinions on Article 13.1, Article 13.5, and Article 14. Health Claim dossiers to identify the procedures applied and the criteria used in health claim assessment;
• Develop criteria for effectively generating evidence of health benefits, formulate best practice; procedures, and disseminate the information to WPs concerned with implementing such procedures within the project and without the project via WP6;
• Develop case dossiers with SME beneficiaries for review by a Health Claim Advisory Board set up for the purposes of the project;
• Review and assess impact of EC legislation concerned with health claims on foods and how this impacts on food innovation and the ability of SMEs to bring successful products to market.

Development and characterisation of foods and placebos for human studies (WP2) developed improved methods of analysis for characterising polyphenols and peptides in foods, by developing methods to characterise and quantify procyanidins in fruits and other plant foods, ellagitannins and associated polyphenols in fruits, and peptides in meat products, which are more robust and better validated in a manner consistent with future accreditation, and generating new data to fill gaps in current datasets. Specific objectives were to:
• Prepare test foods and extracts containing bioactives and appropriate control foods (placebos) for use in RCTs (WP6);
• Develop accurate and fit-for-purpose analytical methods for quantifying key bioactive peptides and polyphenols in foods and extracts;
• Complete detailed compositional analysis of test foods and extracts that were further investigated within WP4 (Bioavailability and Metabolism), WP5 (Mechanisms of Actions) and WP6 (Physiological effects in humans).

Extending eBASIS to study habitual intakes of bioactive compounds in the diet (WP3) developed improved and extended information describing the bioactive composition of foods, biological effects of food bioactives in humans, and patterns of bioactive consumption in populations by extending the eBASIS bioactive database ( Specific objectives were to:
• Further extend and enhance eBASIS with additional composition and bio-effects data on polyphenols and bioactive peptides from fruits, vegetables and meats;
• Estimate the distribution of intakes of selected polyphenols and bioactive peptides from foods and/or nutritional supplements in Europe using relevant national food consumption survey data and eBASIS;
• Estimate the potential increase in consumption of selected bioactives from novel foods with added/enhanced functional ingredients.

Bioavailability and Metabolism (WP4) developed new knowledge about the impact of gastrointestinal digestion and epithelial absorption processes on bioactive peptides and polyphenols by developing advanced models in vitro, which simulate human gastrointestinal and small intestinal digestion and can be combined with human intestinal epithelial cell absorption and metabolism models ex vivo. Specific objectives were to:
• Optimise and validate an in vitro bioavailability platform for peptides and polyphenols;
• Understand the metabolism and absorption of bioactive peptides from cured meat products in the human gut;
• Understand the absorption and metabolism of pomegranate polyphenols in the human gut;
• Determine the stability and fate of Aronia anthocyanins in the gut.

Mechanisms of Action (WP5) developed new improved physiologically-relevant models for investigating mechanisms of effect by testing and modifying models in vitro to ensure they included enzymes and transporters, and synthesised physiologically-relevant metabolites. Specific objectives were to:
• Elucidate the mechanisms involved in the biological activity of polyphenols and peptides, which are already known to be active, and to test physiologically relevant metabolites as found in in vivo studies (and research in WP4);
• Assess activities of extracts with unknown but promising functional activities (the focus on assessing human metabolites of dietary polyphenols and biologically active peptides in a targeted range of biological assays was novel and innovative);
• Test a combination of polyphenols and peptides to assess any interaction or synergy between these two classes of bioactives (where active compounds are found in preliminary work).

Physiological Effects in Humans (WP6) generated new data from high quality randomised controlled trials demonstrating the effects of bioactive peptides or polyphenols consumption on cardiovascular endpoints in humans. Placebos for suitable for use in these randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were developed to ensure that they could be blinded, and the planned study designs and outcome measures were compliant with EFSA requirements. Specific objectives were to:
• Undertake six randomised controlled trials (RCT) in human volunteers with food products developed in WP2 to investigate the effects of consuming fruit-derived polyphenol-enriched foods and bioactive peptides on established biomarkers of cardio-metabolic health and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and, where applicable, to distinguish between the relative effects of polyphenolic compounds present at various concentrations in target foods;
• Investigate dose-response relationships; these data were integrated with WP2 to support optimal product development and WP3 to refine estimates of projected distribution of intakes of polyphenols and peptides for maximum health benefit. Biobanked blood and urine samples underwent further analysis in WP2 (Bioavailability and metabolism) and WP 5 (Mechanisms of action);
• Compile a toolbox of good clinical practice protocols and procedures implemented for each intervention study to support food-based interventions in cardiovascular/metabolic health; this toolbox was integrated with deliverables from WP1 and disseminated in collaboration with WP7;
• Support training through workshops, web-based and published materials to empower SMEs to develop the evidence basis to support valid health claims in collaboration with WP1 and WP7.

Dissemination, Stakeholder Engagements and Training (WP7) built on the successful approaches for dissemination, stakeholder engagements and training used previously. Specific objectives were to:
• Demonstrate and raise awareness about the capability of the new research findings and developed innovative new products and components in the scientific community and in the food and related industry;
• Ensure the communication of the project internally (via the project website) and externally to the scientific and end-user stakeholder communities;
• Ensure training and facilitate Knowledge Exchange in order to allow the easy adoption of the developed technologies and best-practice procedures for substantiation of health claims.

Management (WP8) ensured effective implementation and satisfactory progress of the various project activities through close and continuous coordination and monitoring of activities, ensuring good communication within the project among beneficiaries, and outside with the EC for administrative, legal, financial or technical matters. WP8 also dealt with legal issues within the consortium including IPR management. Finally, this WP was responsible for collating beneficiaries’ financial and scientific (activity) reports, preparing periodic and final reports, and ensuring their timely submission to the EC. Specific objectives were to:
• Provide resources for effective coordination of all project activities and tasks, and all engagements with the European Commission representatives;
• Undertake quality assessment of project progress, results and impact, and make recommendations for any corrective action as appropriate;
• Achieve timely submission of progress and financial reports to the Commission;
• Ensure the Description of Work and the Consortium Agreement is maintained and updated where necessary.

Project Results:
BACCHUS has investigated cause-and-effect relationships between the consumption of bioactive peptides or polyphenols and beneficial physiological effects related to cardiovascular health in humans. An overarching aim of BACCHUS was the development of tangible support for SME food businesses considering a health claim. Thus, existing SME-developed food products with clear potential for obtaining favourable opinions were selected as test cases.

The project included experts in health claims legislation and the EFSA review process as well as academic and industry beneficiaries capable of delivering high quality food and health research, and the capability and the know-how to generate the quality of knowledge required to underpin future health claim dossiers. The selected test cases were aligned with six integrated RTD work packages (WP), each of which addressed key aspects of the EFSA health claim evaluation process (legislation and dossiers; product/bioactive characterisation; habitual intakes; bioavailability and metabolism; mechanisms of action and clinical evidence of a health benefit). The test studies were selected because of existing evidence (epidemiology, in vitro) demonstrating their potential for obtaining a health claim, particularly as related to cardiovascular disease. Five fruit extracts were investigated: pomegranate, apple, aronia, orange and olive. In addition, three bioactive peptides from wheat, dry-cured ham and egg white were investigated. The scientific literature indicated potential effects of these food products/ extracts included reduction in LDL-cholesterol, blood pressure and platelet aggregation. BACCHUS aimed to generate data for each from WPs 2-6 that would be pertinent in the compilation of a health claims dossier.

In addition to the test cases, health claims legislation and practical implications for compiling a dossier were analysed (WP1), eBASIS was extended and linked to a probabilistic model (WP3) to create new tools and resources for SME food businesses pursuing a health claim for their products.

A more detailed overview of the work undertaken is given in the Sections below.

Best Practice for Health Claim Dossiers (WP1)

The objective of the work-package was to support the work of the project by providing internal guidance for the development of successful health claims dossiers. “Watching Brief” reports were produced throughout the project (seven in total) and have been made publicly available via the BACCHUS website. These reports summarised relevant developments from EFSA and the EC; scientific publications relating to polyphenols, bioactive peptides and cardiovascular disease or health claims; and news from within the project. Work package 1 partners submitted a response to EFSA’s public consultation on the updated draft of the ‘General scientific guidance for stakeholders on health claim applications’ during July-Sept 2015.

A Health Claims Advisory Board (HCAB) was set up and meetings were held throughout the project. The HCAB consisted of members of the BACCHUS consortium and an external health claims expert, and aimed to enhance the quality of deliverables by feedback and discussion. A Best Practice Guide for Health Claims (BPG) was produced and piloted. The guide was improved over the course of the project, utilising feedback from individuals who requested a copy of the BPG via the BACCHUS website, project partners, SMEs, the HCAB and LGC who reviewed the BPG from a legal perspective. Sections included an introduction to nutrition and health claims; a review of current EFSA guidance on health claim applications and key recommendations; a review of published health claim opinions related to polyphenols or bioactive peptides and cardiovascular health; wording of health claims; dietary intake data and the health claims evaluation process; the impact of the EC health claims regulation on SMEs and criteria for successful health claim dossiers. The BPG was made publicly available via the BACCHUS website in October 2015. Sections that were added to the Guide as the project progressed include an additional brief introduction for SMEs; useful links; FAQs; information on withdrawing from the health claim application process; suggestions on gaining financial support for a health claim and an outline of health claim regulations in other parts of the world. In addition, updated information on the status of nutrient profiles and updates in relation to the revised guidance issued by EFSA has been included. Alongside the BPG, a selection of short resources were produced including an outline of the application process, key considerations and a checklist for health claim applicants. The BPG is expected to be a useful tool for both academics and SMEs interested in carrying out human studies to form the basis of a health claims dossier. The BPG and accompanying one page resources were disseminated at external meetings including the EuroFIR Food Forum in Brussels (April 2016), Health Claim workshops aimed at SMEs in Budapest (June 2015) and Brussels (June 2016) and a health claims seminar for public analysts in London (September 2016).

A template was produced that can be used by SMEs (and others) to summarise all the information needed to support a health claims dossier, and was piloted with BACCHUS SME partners. The template is a useful tool for collating information and identifying any gaps in the scientific evidence base or technical information before SMEs embark upon compiling an application for a new health claim. One SME within the BACCHUS consortium completed the template and received feedback from the WP1 leader.

An online survey assessing the impact of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation on SMEs was designed by BACCHUS partners and completed by 50 SMEs in 2015. The survey was relaunched at the beginning on 2016 and completed by a further 58 SMEs. Data from the two phases of the survey were combined for analysis and the results have been incorporated into the BPG and presented at the Food Bioactives and Health Conference in Norwich, September 2016. A stand-alone SME impact report was also produced, summarising the results of the survey and placing them in the context of other relevant publications looking at the same research question. It is expected that the report will be published in a peer-reviewed journal, making it easily accessible. The report should very useful to SMEs and policy makers.

The toolkit (, developed within WP1 with input from WPs 3, 6 and 7, is a focal point for BACCHUS outputs, particularly those relevant for SMEs developing health claims. The concept was developed in response to comments from the first periodic review of the project, with the aim of creating a concrete, user-friendly and accessible project resource. The individual components of the toolkit include the BPG (WP1), the eBASIS bioactives database (WP3), the eBASIS-Creme intake assessment tool (WP3), the Best Practice Guide for Human Intervention Studies (WP6) and the e-Learning platform (WP7). The toolkit components have been brought together on the BACCHUS website, with the resources available via registration. WP7 redesigned the BACCHUS website in order to accommodate these additional resources, and to make additional content available to external stakeholders. Online surveys and one-to-one discussions have been utilised to evaluate the toolkit throughout its development to ensure that it meets the needs of the end user. The resources will remain in the public domain beyond the lifespan of the project through a dedicated microsite that will be maintained and hosted by EuroFIR.

Development and characterisation of foods and placebos for human studies (WP2)

The main objectives of WP2 were (1) the generation of appropriate foods, supplements and placebos for use in the human dietary intervention studies (in WP6), (ii) the characterisation of these foods, supplements and placebos particularly with respect their bioactive content, and (iii) the development and validation of new methods of analysis for particular bioactives for which accurate quantitative methods were not available. All of these objectives were achieved as described below.

Each of the foods/bioactives of interest presented its own challenges with regard preparing doses for the human studies, but for each one the final delivery format achieved the required qualities in terms of delivering the target dose of bioactives, participant acceptance of taste and quantity, and allowing a matched placebo. For pomegranate ellagitannins/ellagic acid, novel enriched extracts were produced and delivered in capsule form, and this has been developed into a new brand of products by the SME. For apple flavanols, novel extracts were developed and encapsulated for the RCT, and again these novel products were marketed by the SME. For Aronia polyphenols, a novel placebo beverage was developed and, quite uniquely, its lack of effect on the outcome markers demonstrated before the main intervention trial was conducted. The recipe for this placebo beverage is being published so that it can be used by other researchers and developers of Aronia-based functional foods. The egg peptide product was particularly challenging, but a consumer-acceptable format was developed and used successfully in WP6. One of the challenges for the dry-cured pork peptides was the potentially high levels of salt, but lower salt products were identified and tested successfully. During the project, a wheat protein with interesting biological activities was discovered. The non-specific lipid transfer protein-2 (nsLTP2) was shown to inhibit the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and at least a 4-fold variation between wheat varieties was shown in the content of this bioactive peptide.

The bioactive contents and composition of the foods and supplements were characterised with a high degree of accuracy and as comprehensively as possible with the methods used. Target doses of bioactives were achieved in treatment products in all cases. Food and beverage products were also characterised with regard their nutritional composition, thus achieving excellent compliance with the EFSA requirements for health claims. This comprehensive data on the composition of the foods, beverages and supplements used in the dietary intervention studies is included in the manuscripts that have been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

A major achievement was the successful development and validation of new methods of analysis for two types of bioactives. Previously, there had been no suitable method for accurately quantifying total ellagitannins in foods, beverages and extracts. A novel method was developed, its suitability tested in the original laboratory, and its robustness demonstrated via a multi-lab ring-trial. This method is useful to researchers in academia and industry, has been published, and is expected to be used widely to quantify total ellagitannins in foods and beverages. During BACCHUS it has been used to quantify ellagitannins in a range of foods from various EU countries and these data are being published, and have been added to the eBASIS database (WP3). A method for the accurate quantification of individual apple oligomeric flavan-3-ols (procyanidins) was also developed and validated. Uniquely, authentic purified standards for each oligomer from degree of polymerisation 2 (dp2) to dp10 were generated by isolating them from a procyanidin-rich apple extract and this facilitated accurate quantification of each oligomer. The method allows separation up to dp16/17 depending on the concentration of higher dp oligomers, and the method was demonstrated to be robust via an 8-centre ring-trial of labs across Europe. A paper describing the development and validation of the method is being published.

Extending eBASIS to study habitual intakes of bioactive compounds in the diet (WP3)

An overall objective within eBASIS was to further extend and enhance the database with additional composition and bio-effects data on polyphenols and bioactive peptides from fruits, vegetables, wheats and meats. Following this, the eBASIS compositional data was mapped onto national food consumption survey data to produce a tool allowing the estimation of intakes of selected polyphenols from foods in Europe. This new tool allows analysis of bioactive consumption data which is useful in the preparation of health claims dossiers.

The EuroFIR eBASIS database (Bioactive Substances in Food Information System, is a collation of published data relating to bioactive compounds in foods. The database is divided in to two principal sections: composition data and bioeffects data. Data from peer reviewed publications are identified and entered into the database in a standardised manner by trained evaluators. eBASIS consists of a user-friendly, efficient and flexible interface for searching, extracting, and exporting the data, including the references. A link to the database database is available within the BACCHUS tool kit

eBASIS includes:
• Unique combination of compositional data and biological effects
• Data linked to authoritative plant and plant-part lists
• Comprehensive coverage of plant bioactives
• Use of the LanguaL food description system
• Data from over 1700 peer reviewed publications, forming over 40,000 data points, covering 1058 compounds, 266 plants and 7 animals.

Prior to the BACCHUS project, the database only contained information on plant foods, but as part of this project it has been extended to include bioactive compounds in meat and meat products. For the duration of the project eBASIS has been expanded with new quality evaluated bioactive data on polyphenols and bioactive peptides in meat.

Table 1 summarises the entire eBASIS contents and the new data added by BACCHUS beneficiaries during the project.

In order to enhance the contents of the database the analysis of selected fruits, wheats and meats for polyphenols and bioactive peptides has been carried out, with the resulting data added to eBASIS.

60 accessions of wheat genotypes representative of the main cultivars grown in Europe, have been screened for their nsLTP 2 content. These included 11 durum wheat, 2 Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum, 38 Triticum aestivum; 1 Triticum polonicum; 1 Triticum macha, 1 Triticum timophevi, 3 Triticum monococcum, 3 Triticum dicoccum. The observed range of nsLTP-2 concentration was between 0.059 mg.g-1 and 0.469 mg.g-1 whole flour. The data have been added to the eBASIS database, using a quality assessment system identical to that used for peer reviewed publications.

ACE-inhibitory activity was determined in samples of Spanish, Italian and Belgian dry-fermented sausages and dry cured ham. The IC50 for bioactive peptides and of peptide extracts have been detected, identified and determined in dry-cured hams. The natural dipeptides carnosine and anserine have been quantified in 24 dry-cured hams. The concentration was 497.4 and 24.6 mg/100g ham, respectively.

Selected fresh fruits in Norway, Finland, Turkey and Spain containing ellagitannins and ellagic acid (EA) conjugates have been sampled and analysed. Total hydrolysed ellagitannins, quantified as ellagic acid, in strawberries, raspberries, cloudberries, blackberries and pomegranates have been determined. The highest concentration was found in blackberry with average value 286 mg/100 g fw, cloudberry (226 mg/100 g fw) and raspberry (173 mg/100 g fw). In Norway, berry products such as jams are important dietary sources of ellagic acid containing compounds. The concentrations of total EA in jams were only 15 – 40 % of that found in fresh berries (per 100 g sample).

Another tool developed in the BACCHUS project is a bioactive exposure tool. This probabilistic intake model has been developed within the Creme Nutrition platform to assess distributions of intakes of those bioactive compounds. Numerous data updates have been implemented incrementally within the project, to ensure that the most recent scientific, nutritional research in the area is reflected in the results. Data from eBASIS on bioactive compounds and national food consumption survey data from Norway, the UK, Ireland and Spain have been combined via their food descriptions. An export from eBASIS of all food data covering the bioactive compound classes: anthocyanins, ellagitannins and ellagic acids, flavanols, flavanones, flavones, flavonols, pro(antho)cyanidins was carried out. The results of this export have been uploaded into the eBASIS-Creme Global exposure interface. The tool primarily aims to help SMEs determine whether the quantities of foods or compounds required for the claimed effect are consumed at present and thus it can be assumed that these intake levels are realistically achievable within current dietary habits; a requirement for a health claim. Other questions may also be modelled and answered using this tool, such as replacing foods with other products to assess the impact on intake of particular nutrients. The eBASIS - Creme Global Exposure tool is hosted on the Creme Global Expert Models platform ( The tool itself can be accessed via A description how to use the tool can be found here: Both eBASIS and the intake tool are part of the BACCHUS toolkit, which is available via the project website, and is further described in WP1 and Section D (Dissemination, impact & exploitation).

The intake model was used for a series of case-studies, which modelled a variety of scenarios. These were related to the prioritised test-cases for BACCHUS and involved the analysis of intakes of a specific Bioactive in the UK from a specific Food, and simulating an intervention of an increase of that Bioactive in the specific Food. The three case-studies included LTP-2 in wheat, Epicatechin in capsules, and ellagitannins in capsules:

• The replacement of durum wheat in pasta, bread and crisp toast with KAMUT® Khorasan wheat flour increased the intake of LTP-2 by up to 200%.
• Epicatechin intake from the total diet increased by 16.1 % and 31.9% after the simulation of subjects receiving epicatechin capsules of 70 mg/day and 140 mg/day respectively.
• Ellagitannin intake from the total diet increased from 0.852 to 28.842 mg/day after the simulation of subjects receiving 1 capsule per day of a blend of ellagitannins, and from 0.852 to 112.764 mg/day after the simulation of subjects receiving 4 of these capsules per day.

Bioavailability and metabolism (WP4)

The overall objective of work package 4 within the BACCHUS project was to study the bioavailability and metabolism of different bioactive peptides and polyphenols that have the potential to generate a positive effect on cardiovascular health in humans. In order to achieve this goal, a platform combining in vitro digestion and absorption models was created and used to study two types of bioactive peptides (from meat and egg) and three types of polyphenols (from orange, aronia juice and pomegranate). Moreover, analytical methods able to quantify the different bioactive peptides and polyphenol metabolites in the different media (digestion matrices and cell culture media) were developed. Figure 1 shows a schematic overview of the studies performed.

In order to study the metabolism and bioavailability of bioactive peptides, the first task was to optimise a combined in vitro upper gut digestion and transport model approach to study bioactive peptide metabolism by using Tensiocontrol® (obtained upon pepsic digestion of ovalbumin from egg white). Therefore, short-term in vitro stomach and small intestine digestion (using the SHIME® technology platform) of Tensiocontrol® under fed and fasted states was performed and the digests generated were subsequently applied to the Caco-2 transport model. The analysis of the samples generated revealed that the parent peptides were predominantly present in the fed digests whereas the fasted digests contained considerably more of the degradation products. Moreover, all of them (parent peptides and degradation products) were transported and are therefore bioavailable.

The second task was to use the optimised platform to study bioactive peptides from cured meat. However, analytical methods to measure peptides from a meat extract could not be established as, despite several tests, the matrix had too much influence in the analysis. Not being able to measure the peptides in the starting product that would be used for the transport experiments, was a too high a risk and therefore an alternative experimental set-up was proposed. The original experimental setup, as used for the Tensiocontrol®, had to be adapted and, instead of using the samples obtained from the digestion of meat extract (which could not be analysed), standards of three meat peptides were selected and used to perform the in vitro transport experiments. Although this approach is not as novel as the combination of digestion and absorption, quantitative transport studies with these standards had never been published. Analysis of the samples from the transport experiment showed that each of the peptides were transported and that the transport efficiencies were similar between them, thereby indicating a similar mode of transport.

In order to study the metabolism and bioavailability of polyphenols, the first task was to optimise a combined in vitro digestion (upper and lower gut) and absorption model approach to study polyphenol metabolism in a food matrix and to validate this model with a proof-of-concept human study. Cordiart® (a rutinoside extract from the skins of sweet oranges) was selected for this purpose.

Cordiart® was first subjected to a long-term in vitro digestion simulating stomach, small intestine and colon (using the SHIME® technology platform) and the digests generated were subsequently applied to the Caco-2 transport model. Afterwards, Cordiart® was used in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of bioavailability, conducted within WP4. The results from the performed studies revealed that: (1) the major metabolites produced are phenolic acids; (2) these metabolites are mainly produced in the proximal colon; and (3) they are transported (bioavailable). Comparison of the results obtained for the in vitro and in vivo studies, led to the conclusion that the in vitro platform was nicely able to simulate digestion and absorption into a large extent.

The second task was the study of pomegranate polyphenols. This was done by using the validated in vitro platform together with an in vivo human clinical trial. When combining the results from both studies the following main conclusions were obtained: (1) the conversion of ellagic acid into urolithins was determined by the microbial community (different donors have different urolithin profiles); (2) the main site for conversion was the distal colon; and (3) urolithins were transported (bioavailable).

Finally, the validated platform was also used for the study of aronia juice polyphenols. In addition, aronia polyphenols and their metabolites were quantified in samples from the human clinical trial with aronia juice performed in WP6. The conclusions that could be drawn from the combined results are: (1) both procyanidins and anthocyanins are absorbed (bioavailable); and (2) the site of absorption was the distal colon for procyanidins, while for anthocyanins it was the small intestine and proximal colon.

Firstly, it can be concluded that the goal of this work package has been achieved: a novel in vitro platform combining digestion and absorption models able to determine the metabolism and the bioavailability of bioactive peptides and polyphenols has been developed, optimised and validated. Secondly, analytical methods for the determination of the metabolites generated in complex matrices have been successfully developed. Moreover, the use of this platform has allowed for the first time the determination of the bioaccessible and bioavailable metabolites in a quantitative way for different bioactive peptides and polyphenols with potential to have an impact on cardiovascular health.

Mechanisms of action (WP5)

The overall objectives of work-package 5 were to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the biological activity of polyphenols and peptides, which are already known to be active, and to test physiologically relevant metabolites and assess activities of extracts with unknown but promising functional activities. The focus was to assess human metabolites of dietary polyphenols and biologically active peptides in a targeted range of biological assays, ensuring that all in vitro studies are performed under conditions that are most relevant to the situation in vivo in order to optimise the predictive power of the experiments. Processes which occur in the gut before intestinal absorption can be performed in vitro using compounds found in foods, or extracts from food. However, once the bioactive compounds are absorbed, they undergo chemical changes as part of metabolism. A large number of new metabolites and conjugates were synthesized and provided to partners for experiments as required. In addition, some of the cellular systems were characterised and some uptake transporters were expressed in one of the cell models, to help improve the in vitro model and give the cell a phenotype more like that found in vivo.

The effect of bioactives on biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and associated conditions such as obesity and diabetes were the focus in this work-package. Evidence suggests that consumption of foods such as cocoa and tea, which contain flavonols such as epicatechin and procyanidins, can lead to reduction in coronary heart disease and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure. Nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in the control of vasodilation and endothelial dysfunction. Consumption of an apple puree containing epicatechin and procyanadins increased nitric oxide metabolites in urine suggesting that flavonols may improve nitric oxide bioavailability. We obtained new data in vitro on the effects of selected bioactives on platelet function, where significant effects were observed for apple flavan-3-ols suggesting improvements in platelet activation and platelet-monocyte binding as part of their pleiotropic beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. In a dietary intervention study with ApoE-/- mice on a high fat high cholesterol diet, it was found that injection of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in combination with Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and ellagic acid (from green tea and pomegranate respectively) was able to reduce the maximal plaque thickness in comparison to a VEGF injection alone, but this did not translate into a reduction in plaque area or circumference.

High glycaemic index diets are a major risk factor for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The final step of digestion is the transport of sugars across the intestinal epithelium. We tested several extracts for their ability to affect glucose transport. Some of the extracts were able to inhibit glucose transport (Bonolive (olive leaf extract)), apple procyanidins and hesperidin-rich orange extract), but some were inactive (pomegranate). Some were further tested in an acute human intervention study within WP5. For the first time, it was shown that neither Bonolive nor pomegranate capsules affected the blood glucose response when consumed with bread. Pomegranate, consumed as a juice, attenuated the bread-induced postprandial response significantly (IAUC of -33.1±18.1 %, p <0.01), and this approached the effectiveness of the drug acarbose (a glucosidase inhibitor). These results show that pomegranate polyphenols in a juice, but not a capsule, can attenuate the post-prandial glycaemic response in humans in response to a carbohydrate-rich meal. Even though Bonolive inhibited glucose transport in vitro, the capsule of Bonolive was ineffective in vivo. This may be due to an unsuitable matrix (i.e. a capsule) which would not allow proper GI tract mixing, or the strength of the inhibition in vitro may not be enough to exert an effect in vivo. It appears from this data that a beverage has a higher potential to affect the bread-induced post-prandial response than extracts, at least in the case of pomegranate.

Part of the beneficial effects of bioactives is through effects on the blood vessels. The results show, for the first time, that FA-4-O-sul, hesperetin and urolithin A, B and C caused significant concentration-dependent vasorelaxation in an ex vivo model. In the case of hesperetin and the urolithins, glucuronidation abolished the vasorelaxant activity of the compounds in the concentration range tested, whereas in the case of ferulic acid, sulfation resulted in activation of vasorelaxant properties. FA-4-O-sul acts by direct activation of stimulation of sGC, resulting in increased production of cGMP and activation of the downstream signalling cascade involving (voltage dependent) potassium channel opening and subsequent vasorelaxation.

Previous studies reported the ACE inhibitory activity of some dry-cured ham peptides and their stability to in vitro digestion. However, antihypertensive peptides need to resist the complete hydrolysis by brush-border peptidases and be absorbed actively across the intestinal epithelium to exert their activity. The transepithelial transport through a Caco-2 cell monolayer was demonstrated for dry-cured ham extracts and purified peptides. This study provides evidence for the first time of the absorption and generation of ACE inhibitory peptide fragments originating from dry-cured ham by the Caco-2 cell line, thereby suggesting that dry-cured ham peptides could reach the circulatory system to exert an antihypertensive action.

In order to develop more sophisticated cell models, intestinal epithelial cells were combined with endothelial cells in a co-culture system that could be used to assess the effect of absorbed (bioavailable) metabolites on cardiovascular markers such as nitric oxide (NO) production. The optimum stress was a low level of a-TNF, but NO could not be measured in the system. This system could be used in the future to improve the assays available for assessing bioactives.

Further in vitro models were used to assess the effect of polyphenol metabolites and peptides on biological function. Of the 14 tested metabolites on the human monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 and the human monocytic cell line U937-3xκB-LUC, the urolithins, and urolithin A in particular, was the most active at reducing acute inflammatory responses in human cell culture systems, demonstrating that consumption of ellagitannin-rich fruits and berries, such as pomegranate and strawberries, could be beneficial during acute inflammation. The molecular mechanisms on how the metabolites exert their effect still remains to be elucidated in detail. Treatment of HUVEC cells with a-TNF caused an increase in ROS levels, but this was not affected by the peptide KPVAAP nor by Tensiocontrol®.

Physiological effects in humans (WP6)

The human studies work-package, WP6, on physiological effects in humans, included six randomised placebo-controlled dietary intervention studies investigating the effects of fruit-derived polyphenols and bioactive peptides on CVD risk using validated biomarkers and risk factors for disease. Where applicable, these RCTs have investigated dose-response relationships to distinguish between the relative physiological effects of polyphenolic compounds present at various concentrations in target foods. Every step of these dietary intervention studies (from concept to dissemination) has been subject to critical evaluation and governance, in line with best practice, the principles of good clinical practice (GCP) and the EFSA evaluation process for health claim substantiation, thus providing the basis to establish a dossier of best practice for translation to future food-based studies with cardiovascular endpoints. The activities of this WP were integrated with WP2 to support optimal product development and WP3 to refine estimates of projected distribution of intakes of polyphenols and peptides for maximum health benefit. Finally, biobanked biological samples underwent further analysis in WP4 (Bioavailability and metabolism) and WP 5 (Mechanisms of action).

All six RCTs were successfully implemented within the scheduled time-frame. A strength of these studies is their robust crossover study design. The three RCTs focusing on the effects of bioactive peptides (wheat peptide (LTP-2), egg-ovalbumin derived peptide (Tensiocontrol®) and cured-pork peptides) on cardiovascular health are the first human dietary interventions to be reported with these peptides. In brief, the wheat peptide study observed significant improvements in diurnal and nocturnal systolic BP after consuming peptide enriched KAMUT® Khorasan foodstuffs versus baseline and versus control in adults with suboptimal BP control. Pulse volume change (as a marker of endothelial reactivity), fasting plasma triglycerides and glucose significantly improved in the wheat peptide group. These findings support the substitution of standard wheat products in the diet with products rich in bioactive peptides for the improvement of 24-hour BP, endothelial reactivity, fasting triglyceride and glucose concentrations in adults at increased cardiovascular risk. The egg-ovalbumin derived peptides did not lower blood pressure (BP) or modify biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in a study of adults with elevated systolic BP. In a study of pork peptides in a similar population, there were no significant effects of consuming dry-cured ham on blood pressure outcomes (compared to cooked ham consumption). However, blood glucose and total cholesterol were both significantly reduced following 4 weeks of consuming dry-cured ham. As this was a proof of concept study, there is the potential to follow up these interesting results with further studies on the possible beneficial effects of peptides from dry-cured meats.

The beneficial effects of polyphenols from apples (Flavascular study), Aronia berry (AMARCord study), and pomegranate (POMEcardio study) on cardiovascular health were comprehensively investigated in three further RCTs. Results from the Flavascular study do not indicate a blood-pressure lowering effect of apple-derived polyphenols or any modification of cardiovascular risk. Similarly, Aronia-derived polyphenols did not have significant effects on markers of platelet activation and platelet-leucocyte aggregation. Platelet-monocyte aggregation (in response to optimal ADP levels) was significantly lower after 4 weeks of Aronia juice consumption when compared with the placebo, suggesting a potential anti-inflammatory effect. However, the presence of marked inter-individual variation in the response of participants to study treatments added significant complexity in the interpretation of study findings, and rationalises further sub-group analysis based on gender, age, genetic factors, disease risk etc. in these study cohorts. The Aronia results led the SME (Nutrika) to undertake further studies outside of the project including an animal study and two RCTs studying the effect of Aronia on exercise induced stress, rather than CVD outcomes. Findings from the POMEcardio RCT highlight the importance of urolithin metabotype (UM) clustering for the interpretation of human study findings. Results from this study clearly demonstrated a personalised effect of ellagitannin-containing foods, where clinically-beneficial hypo-cholesterolemic effects were significant in individuals with a specific metabotype (metabotype B). These findings could assist in explaining previous controversial findings from other pomegranate RCTs, and are being utilised in the development of a branded health ingredient.

The human studies conducted in WP6 provide pertinent data from well-designed and controlled RCTs, which demonstrate the effect of consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols on cardiovascular outcomes. The associated manuscripts are currently in the process of review or submission to high impact peer-reviewed nutrition and medical journals. These scientific results contribute substantially to the existing knowledge base, and have significant potential to support food-based SMEs preparing cardiovascular-related health claims. In addition, as part of WP6, UCC (WP-Leader) prepared a Guidance Document for the Design and Implementation of Dietary Intervention Studies for Health Claim Submissions, which features a comprehensive set of guidelines that consider the major design elements of dietary interventions with a view towards identifying optimal approaches, as well as identifying gaps and challenges in developing protocols for dietary intervention studies, and is available for free-download on the BACCHUS website. Although the primary audience for this user-friendly resource is SMEs considering applying for health claims, this guidance is likely to have value far beyond the needs of businesses, in particular being a useful resource for students, early career scientists and others new to research of this nature. This Guidance document was well-received at the BACCHUS Health Claims Workshop (Brussels, June 10th, 2016), where it was launched by UCC and included as part of an interactive workshop which focused on exploring critical aspects of study design for dietary interventions and featured practical examples from the BACCHUS RCTs.

Moving forward, all outcomes from this WP will continue to be disseminated broadly by engagement with SMEs and stakeholders, as well as through traditional scientific routes (high quality publications, and conference presentations).

Potential Impact:
Dissemination Activities

Dissemination, stakeholder engagements and training (WP7) was tasked with building on successful approaches used previously to raise awareness of BACCHUS research findings and potential new products and/ or ingredients amongst the scientific community and food businesses, facilitate effective communication within the consortium via a tailor-made intranet and beyond with users via a range of channels, and support knowledge transfer to enable adoption of best-practice.

Outputs were disseminated broadly though direct engagement with stakeholders, particularly SMEs, as well as and more traditional scientific routes (e.g. peer-reviewed publications and presentations) and communication routes (e.g. print media) and online channels (e.g. social media). WP7 focused on four main channels of dissemination throughout the duration of the project:

Organising of meetings: WP7 organised three workshops focussing on best practice in health claim dossiers (June 2014 – Brussels [BE] and June 2015 – Budapest [HU]) and human study design (June 2016 – Brussels [BE]). The workshops were interactive, encouraging participants reflect on case studies adapted by BACCHUS from real-world examples submitted to EFSA to promote learning. Typically, delegates were food businesses or umbrella-organisations and researchers and, on average, 50 participants attended, despite the relatively narrow topic. WP7 also supported delivery of the first Food Bioactives and Health Conference (Norwich, UK), where many of the BACCHUS outcomes and results were presented to more than 250 delegates representing food research. Importantly, these events facilitated feedback for not only development of the best practice guidelines but also provided insight into the mindset of SME food businesses and diet and health researchers, shedding light on what they need most from potential tools and resources. Many food businesses are unconvinced, not only by the market value offered by a health claim, but also the effort, knowledge and costs associated with achieving such a health claim.

Attendance at conferences: Beneficiaries attended a variety of meetings, such as symposia, congresses, conferences and workshops, where they communicated BACCHUS outcomes and results. IFR recorded these activities in parallel with peer-reviewed publications. To support beneficiaries in these activities, WP7 produced a range of dissemination materials, including as flyers, leaflets, roll-up posters and a presentation summarising BACCHUS activities. More than 6000 leaflets and flyers were distributed at 50 events to representatives of academia or industry – specifically SME business or umbrella associations.

Publications: During the period of funding, some research was published in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals, such as Food Chemistry, which will continue post-funding, as the research matures. Nevertheless, the consortium reported more than 270 dissemination activities ranging from press releases and articles published in popular press, to oral and poster presentations at conferences, and posts online. Of the 29 peer-reviewed articles currently published, WP7 has summarised 19 using accessible language and highlighting the most important outcomes of the research and posted this information on the BACCHUS website; there are also a links to the original free text articles or an abstract, where the articles are not open access. References for a further 10 papers are also provided, and other papers will be added in due course.

On- and offline media: BACCHUS utilised current trends in online communication to exploit the cost:benefit ratio to spreading information about the project. The website ( was updated regularly with project activities and results, as they became available, and ensure it remains contemporary for continued use beyond the end of the project. Social media was employed to attract primarily the general public, but also professionals in fields relevant to BACCHUS (e.g. nutrition, diet and health, food businesses).

In reality, the impact of BACCHUS through the actions of WP7 is difficult measure since there will be an on-going affect in the academic sector, as research is published, and online: increased numbers of visitors improves a site’s ranking with Google, increasing its potential to be found. During the four years of EU funding, however, WP7 engaged stakeholders directly through tailored events (ca. 150 individuals from food businesses and research), providing training and resources to support easy adoption of best practice for health claims. These examples suggest BACCHUS, generally, and WP7, in particular, capitalised on successful approaches for dissemination, stakeholder engagement and training to demonstrate and raise awareness about new research findings as well as potential new products and or ingredients amongst the scientific community and food businesses. Measures of impact, simply in terms of numbers of individuals engaged through the various methods globally, are indicative that the approaches were effective, and the four events as well as the legacy of resources online have and will continue to support knowledge transfer in the field of food-based health claims.

Impact and Exploitation

The outcomes of the project have benefitted a wide range of different stakeholders, including:
• Consumers through new scientific understanding of how bioactive peptides and polyphenols could benefit health, and increased potential for new products with proven health benefits;
• Policy-makers through provision of new robust scientific evidence to support current and future health policies;
• European food industry including SMEs will be better able to innovate with the availability of new tools, technologies and knowledge, and development of a framework for directing research supporting future health claims;
• Wider academic community through advanced knowledge of the role and mechanisms of action for dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols in human health;
• EU and ERA through increased innovation potential and competitiveness of participating SME food businesses and new tools and resources for future exploitation.

A major output is the BACCHUS toolkit, which consists of five integrated tools/ resources, for SMEs, researchers and regulators: (1) best practice guidelines for health claims including (2) guidelines for human dietary intervention study design; (3) elearning platform including summaries for most BACCHUS peer-reviewed paper published during the project; (4) access to eBASIS; and (5) access to the eBASIS-Creme Global interface.

Best practice guidelines for health claims was developed to provide a coherent point of access for information about the European Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims as well as other relevant regulations, and also to provide specific insights regarding areas relevant to BACCHUS, specifically health claims on polyphenols or bioactive peptides, and cardiovascular health. The second edition of the guide is now available online. This issue was drafted in spring/ summer 2015, in consultation with BACCHUS beneficiaries with the aim of updating the first edition as well as restructuring the guide following feedback from delegates attending the WP7 workshops in Brussels (BE – June 2014) and Budapest (HU – June 2015). Additional information was added on novel foods regulation, proprietary data and proprietary health claims, and the effect of the regulation on SME food businesses. In addition, updates were provided for recent health claims opinions on polyphenols and bioactive peptides, and developments in related regulations. The document was also separated into two parts: Part I covered the health claims in general while Part II describes areas specific to BACCHUS, i.e. claims related to polyphenols, bioactive peptides and cardiovascular disease. The guide focuses on official regulations and guidance documents from the European Commission (EC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as well as looking at outcomes from other relevant health claims applications that were rejected by EFSA. The current version also includes a health claims template that summarises information needed for a dossier and is intended to help collation of the information required for a health claims dossier.

Best practice guide for the design and implementation of human intervention studies offers advice about defining study objectives and outcomes, selecting the study population and appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria, selection of the treatments and control, developing the protocol, calculating the sample size, ethical considerations and analysing the data.

eBASIS is an internationally recognised database providing up-to-date coherent and validated scientific information on the composition and health benefits of bioactive compounds in foods. A user-friendly, efficient and flexible interface supports searching, extracting and exporting of data, including the references. eBASIS includes:

• Unique combination of compositional data and biological effects
• Data linked to authoritative plant and plant-part lists
• Comprehensive coverage of plant bioactives
• Use of the LanguaL food description system
• Data from over 1000 peer reviewed publications, forming 36,000 data points, covering 750 compounds, 263 plants and 3 animals

eBASIS-CremeGlobal Interface is a new tool linking the eBASIS bioactives database and the Creme Nutrition model has been developed for BACCHUS. The tool can be used to assess current intakes of polyphenols and bioactives in Europe, using food consumption survey data from Norway, the UK, Ireland and Spain and bioactive data generated within eBASIS. The interface enable SMEs to assess intakes from a variety of foods across populations to determine whether any given compound can be reasonably consumed within a balanced diet at a level to elicit a cause-and-effect response, as specified by EFSA. Foods consumed in food consumption surveys and bioactive compound concentration data (flavonoids, polyphenols and bioactive peptides) were mapped to estimate the distribution of intakes in four countries. Concentration data from eBASIS has been analysed and formatted into discrete data distributions of concentrations for each food-compound pair, allowing for random sampling of concentrations with the Creme Nutrition® model. Results have been generated for the mean and the 95th percentile, describing high consumers within a population, for daily intakes (mg/d) of the eBASIS compounds from selected plant based foods.

The eLearning Platform provides support and guidance around the topic of health claims dossiers to promote exploitation of existing and new technologies or methods, and best-practice for substantiation of health claims. The content includes (1) testimonials from companies with examples of successful and unsuccessful applications, highlighting success factors and causes of failure, (2) case studies that support learning-by-doing, and other resources or tools, such as presentations from the BACCHUS workshops (June 2014-2016) and a glossary of relevant terms.

Goals for sustainability of the BACCHUS toolkit beyond 2016 include:
• Raising awareness amongst regulators and food businesses considering a health claims;
• Compilation of validated and documented data, and supporting information, for bioactive compounds in Europe;
• Promoting knowledge and understanding of health claims and underlying data amongst researchers, authorities, students and other target stakeholders/ users.

The BACCHUS website ( will be converted to a microsite, focusing on projects objectives and outputs (between 30th September and 31st December 2016), which will be hosted by EuroFIR AISBL for 3-5 years. EuroFIR aims to retain the existing URL but, subject to funding, this might be changed to, in keeping with other sites also hosted by EuroFIR (e.g. Access to the toolkit will be free for all until the end of 2016, but users will need to register and sign in so that their details can be captured. Thereafter, some elements might have restricted access (e.g. eBASIS and eBASIS-Creme Global interface). Access for BACCHUS beneficiaries will be on favourable terms for 3-5 years, and a licensing and/ or membership scheme is being explored. The ProBio project has also been advising on possible exploitation routes and a new proposal under the SME Instrument funding scheme is being evaluated.

The tools, resources and scientific outputs from BACCHUS are expected to feed into the recent EC consultation on nutrient profiles and botanicals. The Commission has published a roadmap for the evaluation of (a) Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on food with regard to nutrient profiles and health claims made on plants and their preparations (botanicals), and (b) the general regulatory framework for their use in foods.

In addition to the toolkit, a number of beneficiaries have been working towards a health claims dossier, which may also be exploited commercially as a model approach. Project SMEs have increased their innovation potential and competitiveness through better understanding their product potential, and the five most promising foods/ ingredients for exploitation are: (1) a branded ingredient (INGRANA, pomegranate) - positive results from a BACCHUS human study are contributing to the commercial success of the product, but the large inherent inter-individual variability has reduced the potential for pomegranate to obtain a favourable cardiovascular-related health claim (ADMIRA/CSIC-CEBAS/Tubitak); (2) a commercially packed aronia berry juice, marketed as a sports drink in non-European countries, but with future potential for a health claim application to EFSA (IMR/Nutrika); (3) a new sports nutrition product (MUSCLEUP) that will be exploited utilising BACCHUS-generated pharmacokinetics results (BioActor/UCC); (4) a new olive polyphenolic extract (OLECOL) with potential effects on glucose uptake and glycaemic control, which could be the basis for the launch of a novel natural cholesterol lowering health ingredient if future results are as positive (BioActor/ULEEDS); and (5) CORDIART®, which together with additional human intervention study results on the effect of CORDIART® on arterial health markers, mean product could be used as a health ingredient in dietary supplements, and functional foods and beverages (BioActor).

In addition, two products show promising potential for industry exploitation: (6) Kamut® wheat LTP2 peptide - results on bioactivity including a human study assessing effect of pasta products on endothelial function, blood pressure and CVD risk have provided additional evidence of benefit and refocused production and processing on high nutrition and value foods (UNIBO/KEE/BIOAESIS); and (7) dry-cured pork ham (>9 months) (CSIC-IATA/UCMA).

Finally (8), the Extended SHIME® technology platform (ProDigest/UGENT/VITO) has been developed and partly validated, allowing food and pharmaceutical companies to evaluate the intestinal fate and bioavailability without the immediate need for animal studies. ProDigest is taking the lead in valorising and exploiting this technology and, currently, offers it as a preclinical for product development.

BACCHUS involved SMEs as beneficiaries to undertake research of direct relevance to their products. This approach was the most effective mechanism for ensuring BACCHUS aims and scientific and technological objectives were relevant to innovative food businesses. At the start of the project, there were nine SMEs with the potential to develop a health for existing or new products. There were numerous benefits to both the SME and academic partners such an integrating inter-sectoral approach including:
• SME partners gained direct access to new tools, resources and scientific knowledge and innovative technological advances;
• The academic partners benefitted from access to foods and ingredients, food processing and production facilities and know-how that is crucial for developing and producing foods and placebos for human intervention studies (RCTs);
• The relevance and usefulness of the tools and resources developed largely by academic partners were improved through direct interaction and testing by SMEs;
• Many of the SME partners brought considerable experience of preparing health claim dossiers and of the EFSA evaluation process that was invaluable to the project.

Non-commercial exploitation has been achieved through publications in peer-reviewed national and international scientific journals, and presented at scientific congresses by means of posters and oral presentations. This form of exploitation allows the scientific results of the project to be permanently recorded in the literature evidence-base, and disseminates the project widely in the scientific community. The publication of scientific papers and dissemination of results will continue after the end of the project, ensuring the full body of evidence generated in the project is available externally. The scientific exploitation by the consortium is based on:

• Substantial research that is focussed on understanding the role and mechanisms of dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols on human health;
• Establishing the bioavailability of selected bioactives in humans, and identifying the key metabolites that are responsible for exerting the beneficial effects in humans;
• Establishing plausible mechanisms of action that can link consumption of the bioactives with the beneficial effects in humans;
• Effects of consumption of bioactives on end-points that have been accepted by EFSA as beneficial physiological effects;
• Using appropriate study designs (placebo-controlled and double-blinded) and outcome measures that EFSA considers appropriate for the substantiation of health claims;
• Evidence generated in the project can be used to improve the formulation of foods containing bioactive peptides and polyphenols beyond the project, and as evidence in support of improved dietary recommendations to consumers;
• The project results are directly relevant to the European food industry and SMEs, evidenced by the direct involvement of nine SMEs and one larger company in the food industry sector;
• The project has made a major and timely impact on new future health claims by generating appropriate scientific evidence for food products containing bioactive peptides and polyphenols, including human studies.

A Special Issue of the high-impact Trends in Food Science and Technology journal with selected scientific plenaries and other talks from the Food Bioactives and Health Conference (September 2016) featuring a number of key papers with scientific findings from the BACCHUS project, as well as a Special Issue on the open access Nutrients journal, will be published in the first half of 2017. The content of these supplements is being coordinated by the Conference Organiser and BACCHUS Coordinator.

List of Websites:
The project website is available at:
In the latter stages of the project, the website was redesigned to increase the visual appeal, usability, and accessibility to the project outcomes. The amount of external content on the website has been increased, and it now includes pages dedicated to BACCHUS publications and resources, principally the toolkit. It will be maintained beyond the lifetime of the project by EuroFIR, either as an independent website, or as a microsite, for a minimum of three years.

Contact details:

Dr Paul A Kroon
Institute of Food Research
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7UA
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1603 255236

Fax: +44 (0)1603 507723


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