M E T A B O L O M I C S   F O R   P L A N T S,   H E A L T H   A N D  O U T  R E A C H


The META-PHOR program aims to establish a European-based platform for the analysis of plant metabolites based on developing innovative metabolite profiling and identification technologies.

Knowledge of the metabolites in our food which determine key characteristics such as nutritional value, quality and health needs to be enhanced and the tools required for their detection need to be improved. Having both will facilitate better monitoring of the food production chain and will create new opportunities for targeted strategies for breeding, storage and processing. Recent advances in both hardware and its associated software have lead to an increasing demand for coordinated efforts to create dedicated strategies for the biochemical fingerprinting and profiling of plant metabolites. Metabolomics is a technology which has received wide interest. Broad application is however, restricted by a poor ability to generate, process and store data in a standardised manner. Incomplete compound databases also limit metabolite identification.

This META-PHOR project brings together key experts with proven track records, in a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach to deliver a phenotyping platform with potential for high throughput analysis. Statistics, bioinformatics and software tools will be developed and a sustainable database of plant metabolites will be initiated. The consortium comprises researchers from both academic and applied organisations together with INCO and SME partners selected for their complementary interests and expertise. Three crops have been chosen as primary targets - Brassica (Broccoli), melon and rice to enable us to cover the full range of key metabolite groups of importance to plant biology, crop quality and nutrition and which are applicable regarding e.g. biofortification and nutrigenomics issues. During the project links will also be made with other EU projects (e.g. FLORA, EU-SOL, DEVELO-NUTRI) to ensure optimal technology transfer. Through an outreach programme we will demonstrate the opportunities of metabolomics to the general and scientific public.

More information: Metaphor flyer or AgroFood article (2007)