CNFP

The COMPETENCE NETWORK FOOD PROFILING (CNFP) is a scientific joint project comprising academic partner institutions and private enterprises. The project is funded over a time of 36 months with 3.4 Mio EUR by means of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) by a decision of the German Bundestag (parliament). Project support is provided by the Federal Institute for Agriculture and Food (BLE) within the scope of the program for promoting innovation. The consortium is headed by the HAMBURG SCHOOL OF FOOD SCIENCE. The focus lays on developments in the area of ​​instrumental analysis for the authentication of foodstuffs.

More information can be found here.

Objectives

FOOD FRAUD is an increasingly critical issue in all areas of the complex and global supply chain. The problem of counterfeiting involves not only the deliberate re-labeling or incorrect labeling of cheap to premium products, but also the stretching with inferior components as well as the mixing of genetically unmodified products with genetically modified products. Information on authenticity parameters, such as geographical or botanical origin and chemical identity of plant raw materials, can be checked in principle by means of control of freight documents or invoices (traceability). In practice, this method has often proved to be inadequate, especially in the case of skillful criminal manipulations (FOOD CRIME), so that there is a need to develop safe analytical strategies.

For the research consortium the following tasks are derived:

High-tech method development (non-targeted)

For the differentiation of raw materials of different geographic origins as well as different biological identities, firstly highly resolved data (fingerprints) are recorded on all relevant cellular levels (genomics, proteomics and metabolomics). These studies are complemented by high-resolution element and isotope profile analyzes (isotopolomics).

Routine applications (targeted)

On the basis of statistical differences between the observed atomic and molecular data profiles, after data reduction, marker compounds are extracted from the experimental data, which can be used for the downstream development of uncomplicated and routine methods. At the same time, protocols are created that can be adapted and further developed cost-effectively in a company or commercial laboratory with appropriate equipment requirements, and ideally by scientifically untrained personnel.

Data management

A sustained data management system provides the basis for analyzing all data records, fingerprints and sequences / barcodes, even repeatedly at times (memory effect) and with regard to completely different questions. Especially the recycling of data can be particularly valuable with regard to the traceability of food.

Technology transfer

A major goal is the transfer of knowledge, i. e. a close collaboration between academic research institutes and the economic enterprises involved, to improve food safety together.

Development

Further developments on the technical / equipment side, in the software area as well as in the area of ​​the interplay of the different physical processes should make food profiling better and more sustainable in the medium and long term. The goal is the optimization of the overall system towards sensitivity and total resolution, in order to get a still defined picture of the raw materials investigated. The possibility of directly linking the collected information with appropriate software algorithms can further improve the result. In addition, new physical principles are to be included in the concept upon availability.

Partners

Each participating academic research center is a competence center for at least one of the omics technologies and has extensive and long-term experience in the respective area. All reasonable technologies and competences available today for the area of ​​”authentication” are thus covered. The companies involved also ensure the transfer of the developed processes to the economy and ultimately to the benefit of the consumer.

University of Hamburg

At the leading HAMBURG SCHOOL OF FOOD SCIENCE, both Genome-based studies, e.g. for the determination of botanical identity, as well as targeted and non-targeted metabolome-based spectral studies (LC-MS / MS) are carried out to determine the geographic origin. The area NMR analysis, a complementary vertical metabolomics discipline, is represented by the junior research group FOOD-NMR (HSFS / Department of Chemistry). Proteome analyses, i. e. both the so-called bottom-up and top-down approaches are carried out in the Proteom Analysis group of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), an institution of the University of Hamburg.

Leibniz-Institute of Food-Systembiology of the TU München

The elucidation of the volatile metabolite or corresponding derivatives of the non-volatile metabolism is accomplished by the Leibniz-Insitute of Food-Systembiology of the TU München.

University of Hohenheim

The field of isotopic and elemental analysis is dealt with by scientists at the University of Hohenheim, Institute for Food Chemistry.

University of Tübingen

The processing of the data is carried out by the Center for Bioinformatics of the University of Tübingen, which develops software solutions for the processing of high-throughput data and the classification of omics data.


La Bilancia Trüffelhandelsgesellschaft mbH

La Bilancia Trüffelhandelsgesellschaft mbH is one of the most important firms in the sector. Their market and product know-how have lead to a top position in the international market for truffles. La Bilancia covers the areas import, processing and distribution of truffles within the cluster.

 

Agrolab Labor GmbH

Agrolab Labor GmbH is a European-wide acting contract laboratory. Agricultural, environmental, water and food analytics are offered. For the investigation of food quality and safety, state-of-the-art laboratory technology and validated analytical methods are used.

LUFA-ITL GmbH

LUFA-ITL GmbH is an accredited contract laboratory of the AGROLAB GROUP specializing in food, feed and water analysis. Experienced and partly also scientifically trained employees are involved in the analysis of food quality and safety. LUFA-ITL GmbH is flexibly accredited in several areas, in molecular biology at the highest level.

SGS Germany GmbH

SGS Germany GmbH is a global leader in testing, testing, verification and certification. Throughout the supply chain, services are offered to minimize risks, ensure quality, and improve product productivity. The analysis and certification methods are constantly being developed and refined.

Institut Philipp Contrade Quality Assurance Laboratory of EURObac GmbH

The Institut Philipp Contrade Quality Assurance Laboratory of EURObac GmbH is one of the few food chemistry laboratories in Germany that carries out microscopic and macroscopic species determination of plant raw materials. The institute has many years of experience in the investigation of fungi. There is special expertise in the microscopic spore analysis of truffles from a worldwide collection.

Starter GmbH

Starter GmbH accompanies the project and, together with the development teams of the project partners, does the risk assessment. In addition, the relevant documentary requirements are defined and constantly updated. All project activities are evaluated from the point of view of a subsequent approval and a fair exploitation of the project results and are coordinated accordingly.

HSFS

The HAMBURG SCHOOL OF FOOD SCIENCE (HSFS) was founded in 2011 by Markus Fischer. The orientation of the HSFS is interdisciplinary and is characterized by the combination of classical food chemistry questions with modern biochemical / nutritional diagnostics. In the food sector, we mainly work on the development of analytical methods for the authenticity and quality control of food. In addition to methods for “in-field” analysis, we are interested in methods for routine applications, as well as technically very sophisticated fingerprinting methods.

A number of research projects are currently being carried out at the HSFS which are funded through the AiF / FEI or the BLE (Federal Institute for Agriculture and Food) within the framework of the program for the promotion of the IGF (Industrial Community Research) by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) the BMEL (Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture).

Operationally carried out at the HSFS are analyzes of the underlying genetic information (food GENOMICS) and the non-volatile metabolom (food METABOLOMICS). Hereinafter, by means of ultra-high-resolution technologies (for example NGS methods, HR-LC-MS), hypothesis-free system-wide statements about the biochemical processes occurring in a foodstuff are also made accessible with regard to interactions with the environment (FOOD FINGERPRINTING). First of all, profiles (maxi-fingerprints) are collected and compared with each other using multivariate static methods from all addressed authentic raw materials in infrastructurally sophisticated experimental approaches. The stable molecular differences identified in this way between the reference data sets are both qualitatively and quantitatively characteristic of the respective sample. For a later assignment it is sufficient to determine these minifingerprints by technically less complex, routine targeted analyzes (FOOD TARGETING). In addition, it is possible to determine individual chemical markers qualitatively (FOOD SENSING) by means of a rapid test procedure. The CNFP covers the areas of FOOD FINGERPRINTING and FOOD TARGETING.

In addition to the composition of foodstuffs and raw materials, the question of the effect of food plays an increasing role at the HSFS. Strategies for METABOLIC PROFILING and the targeted recording of nutrition-relevant parameters (METABOLIC TARGETING) using high-resolution spectroscopic procedures are at the center of research activities at the HSFS.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer
Director

Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences
HAMBURG SCHOOL OF FOOD SCIENCE
Grindelallee 117
20146 Hamburg

fon +49 40 428 38 – 43 57 (Office)
fax +49 40 428 38 – 43 42
markus.fischer@uni-hamburg.de