Hylobates’ director interviewed on the origins of PlantLIBRA and the botanicals meta-database

PlantLIBRA International Innovation Article

In the new issue of International Innovation, Patrizia Restani, PlantLIBRA‘s coordinator, Patrick Coppens, from the European Botanical Forum  and Hylobates’ Luca Bucchini tell about the PlantLIBRA project. As project manager, Luca recounts the origins of the project proposal and one of its key concepts, the botanicals and Plant Food Supplement database. The issue can be accessd on line. The article can also be downloaded, p84-86_PlantLIBRA

– The PlantLIBRA Management Team –

Risk/benefit assessment of plant food supplements on “display” at the 20th Society for Risk Analysis Europe Meeting

Hylobates Consulting is working on the development of a risk/benefit assessment of plant food supplements (PFS) together with the National Institute for Health and Welfare of Kuopio (Finland), as partners of PlantLIBRA EU funded project (for more information visit http://www.plantlibra.eu). Preliminary results on the work done so far were presented at the poster session of the 20th Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis Europe, which was held in Stuttgart (Germany) on June, 6th -8th.

The model under development will be the result of the integration of existing models for risk/benefit assessments used in other sectors and for other products, such as food and drugs. To achieve this purpose, literature on methods currently in use, such as the one provided by the European Food Safety Agency for risk/benefit assessment of food or methods proposed by the European Medicine Agency for drugs,  is being revised by researchers at Hylobates Consulting.

Of course the final model will have to meet the various features of plant food supplements and will have to be adaptable to the characteristics of the finished product for which the assessment is required (extract, plant species, specific compounds). This represent the challenge which researchers are currently facing in the integration of risk/benefit approaches currently existing.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare of Kuopio (Finland) is at the same time working on developing an open assessment for risk/benefit of plant food supplements through a Wiki-platform named Opasnet. By this way, the approach developed will be freely accessible both for scientific scrutiny and policy use at the same time.

Antonella Guzzon – Research team

Professor Witkamp PlantLIBRA’s Scientific Advisory Board’s vice-chair interviewed on foods and pharma convergence

Professor Witkamp

During a conference in Lille, Renger Witkamp, Professor of Nutrition and Pharmacology at Wageningen  University in the Netherlands, and PlantLIBRA’s Scientific Advisory Board vice-chair, has lately given an interesting interview on the hot topic of the convergence of food and pharmaceuticals. The Scientific Advisory Board provides advice on the progress of the PlantLIBRA EC project and helps ensure that the PlantLIBRA’s output is of the highest scientific quality. Hylobates provides the secretariat to the Board. The interview can be found on the daily online news on the website NutraIngredients.com.

The PlantLIBRA Project Management Team

Thinking ahead for the PlantLIBRA project.

After a intensive work week at the PlantLIBRA project meeting in Brasov in the middle of May, the Project Management Team has recharged energies, is taking actions in the project organization, and is planning the next steps of work.

This last meeting has given all of us the chance to reflect and to learn from all the events and outcomes of this international event, and given us helpful insights to even start planning the project’s next meeting in one year. This second project meeting  has provided us with the valuable opportunity to meet our partners, many for the first time in person since the beginning of the project. We exchanged views on plant food supplements, and shared ideas and enthusiasm about the work we are carrying on. The lessons of this first year has made us aware of achievements and problems areas to prepare us for the next work period.

A special acknowledgment for the kind and well appreciated organization and hospitality goes to PlantLIBRA partners of  the University of Transilvania, Dr Mihaela Badea and Monica Florescu, who have provided their constant support and efforts during the whole Project meeting.

Sonia Rebustini, PlantLIBRA Management Team

PlantLIBRA’s 2nd Project Meeting in Brasov, Romania, concluded last week

Thanks to the help of the Transilvania University  of Brasov and with the Coordinator, the University of Milan, Hylobates Consulting managed the practical organization the PlantLIBRA’s 2nd  Project Meeting in Brasov, Romania, which ended last week. This meeting is the culminating point of each year to hear from individual partners and work groups on their achieved results on the topic of plant food supplements.

From 17 to 20 May PlantLIBRA partners from 25 institutes and companies traveled from Bucharest to Brasov through beautiful landscapes of mixed forest and high mountains of the Transylvanian alps to meet and assess project progress.

Some programme highlights were:

•   Presentation of the 1st  year results by each working group (work package)

•   Internal work package meetings

•   Project dissemination events with local authorities and journalists

•   Presentations and dialogue with policy advisors active  in the field of plant food supplements

•   Workshop with  stakeholders representing manufactures and associations of the plant food supplement sector

Among some of the project objectives, results were presented going from the activities for building a meta-database with compositional and toxicological values of botanicals, the multinational surveys on intake and consumption of plant food supplements, to the risk benefit assessment of this product category,

Along with the scientific presentations, we learned as well from national authorities from Romania, Hungary, Italy, Belgium and Germany on the specific requirements for policy and legislation of plant food supplements.

More information on PlantLIBRA on:

http://www.plantlibra.eu/web/

Alejandro Rodarte, PlantLibra managment team

Hylobates’ PlantLIBRA Management Team helps set up forum for dialogue between PlantLIBRA and stakeholders

During its project meeting in Brasov, Romania, PlantLIBRA’s management team based at Hylobates is organizing and inviting participants and interest groups to its workshop:

“Stakeholders in the plant supplement sector-  A needed cooperation “

Considering the varied perceptions and regulations concerning plants supplements within Europe and internationally, the close cooperation between stakeholders, policy makers, consumers, and scientists is essential. The latter to promote sound technological innovation, as well as harmonization of procedures and communication of scientific findings.

Through this workshop PlantLIBRA’s participants will meet and hear from stakeholders of the European plant supplement industry, government and other special groups, and discuss actual issues and needs of the sector. By doing so we seek their valuable feedback on how to redirect our efforts and therefore project’s results for a better interface between industry, science and policy.

Join us on 18th May.

Update on May 13: program available at this link PlantLIBRA Stakeholder Workshop Programme

– Alejandro David Rodarte,  PlantLIBRA Management Team –

EFSA: la caffeina per lo sport funziona, altre sostanze no

In data odierna il gruppo di esperti dell’EFSA ha pubblicato i risultati della valutazione di 442 claim sulla salute proposti per l’uso nei prodotti alimentari.

Solo poche opinioni possono essere considerate positive nel campo della nutrizione sportiva,  in particolare sono stati accettati claim relativi al consumo di caffeina e aumento dello stato di allerta/attenzione, diminuzione della percezione dello sforzo durante l’esercizio fisico ed aumento della capacità in esercizi fisici di resistenza. Gli esperti dell’EFSA hanno dato inoltre parere positivo per il claim relativo alle maltodestrine resistenti affermando che c’è una relazione di causa effetto tra il consumo di questi carboidrati e il miglioramento della funzionalità intestinale. Altri esiti positivi sono riscontrabili per claim relativi alla Colina (‘contribuisce al normale metabolismo lipidico’) e ai polifenoli dell’ulivo (‘Idrossitirosolo protegge le LDL dal danno ossidativo’).

Gran parte dei claim valutati sono stati respinti, tra cui i principali relativi al consumo di caffeina e tè verde che riguardano ‘mantenimento e controllo del peso corporeo’ non potranno più essere utilizzati per prodotti ed integratori alimentari, a meno che il processo a livello comunitario abbia un esito diverso e solo quando i pareri diventeranno legge, con lo specifico regolamento di attuazione. Nessun parere positivo per quel che riguarda i claim  sugli aminoacidi come arginina, lisina, triptofano e derivati aminoacidici quali taurina, carnosina: infatti i principali claim sulla massa muscolare, attività di tipo tonico e vasodilatazione sono stati bocciati.Numerosi altri claim sono stati valutati e bocciati, in particolare molti relativi a Quercetina, Luteina, Acido Alfa Linoleico (ALA), FOS e i PUPA DHA/EPA (Omega 3) generalmente per carenza di dati sufficienti.

“Non bisogna dimenticare che EFSA ha ampiamente riconosciuto i benefici di vitamina e minerali che sono i tipici principi degli integratori alimentari, anche per lo sport (come per vitamina C e sistema immunitario dello sportivo)” ha commentato Luca Bucchini, direttore gestionale di Hylobates “Per le altre sostanze ha usato uno standard di prova molto diverso e a volte discutibile, anche se riteniamo un processo trasparente e scientificamente qualificato come quello di EFSA sia importante e necessario. Il riconoscimento per la caffeina è importante ed univoco; sarà importante bilanciare l’effetto positivo dei pareri EFSA con la necessità di portare sul mercato prodotti equilibrati, indirizzando attentamente la ricerca. Su un piano più squisitamente tecnico è importante, che con l’opinione sulla caffeina, EFSA ha confermato la possibilità di claim sulla salute nel quadro del Regolamento 1924/2006 riferiti ad attività sportive”.

Le indicazioni fornite dal Ministero della Salute sul proprio sito, fino all’entrata in vigore di un regolamento applicativo (atteso per metà 2012), restano permesse.

– Armando e Jacopo, Sport Nutrition Team –

Aggiornato alle ore 18:03 dell’8/4 con riferimento al Ministero Salute

2011 PlantLIBRA project meeting to be held in May on Dracula’s homeland

Hylobates Consulting is happy to announce that in less than two month the 2nd PlantLIBRA project meeting will take place. Our  Project Management Team is working hard on these days to tie up loose ends for the organization of the event, and make it as relevant and scientifically exciting as we can.

This year, the congress which annually brings together all the partners contributing to PlantLIBRA’s development and success will be held in Brasov, placed in the well-known Romanian region of Transylvania.

The 2nd project meeting hosted by the our Romanian partner, the Transilvania University of Brasov, will take place between 17-20 May.

This international congress will also help the Coordinator, Prof. Restani of the University of Milan, to assess the progress of PlantLIBRA, ten months after the project start-up in June, against the objectives agreed with the EC.

The tight schedule of the 4 day-event include plenary sessions to discuss the first year results, WP meetings, to interact with policy-marks, stakeholders, other scientists and a dedicated session to discuss the latest news from the world of botanicals and policy- making.

Hylobates Consulting would like to thank Dr Mihaela Badea from the Universitatea TRANSILVANIA din Brasov for her help in the organisation of the meeting, and wishes this PlantLIBRA annual congress to be a key event to achieve the project goals – thanks to the participation of all partners and guests.

Sonia

PlantLIBRA Management Team

ARNOLD HIGHLIGHTS: QUERCETIN, A POWERFUL, NOT FULLY EXPLOITED NATURAL ANTIOXIDANT

Quercetin, a member of the flavonoids family, is one of the most important dietary antioxidants. It is widely present in foods including vegetables, fruit, tea and wine and is claimed to exert beneficial health effects.

Especially the ability of Quercetin to scavenge highly reactive species such as peroxynitrite and the hydroxyl radical probably has beneficial health effects.

At Arnold, we saw a complete product line based on fortification with quercetin, with energy drinks, soft chews, liquid concentrates and powder drinks.

On April 8 2011 EFSA published a new opinion concerning quercetin, rejecting the health claim ‘ Quercetin contributes to the protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage’, concluding that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of quercetin and protection of DNA, proteins or lipids from oxidative damage. This makes quercetin less attractive as a food supplement ingredient.  (Updated 11/04/2011 with EFSA opinion)

– Armando, Sport Nutrition Team –

Hylobates partners with 25 institutions worldwide to advance the science of botanicals

Hylobates Consulting is one of the partners in the EU project PlantLIBRA. PlantLIBRA, acronym of PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment, is a project co-financed by the European Commission as part of the 7th executive programme for research in Europe.

Given the European consumers’  increasing acceptance and consumption of  plant food supplements, the project aims at fostering their safe use, by  increasing and disseminating science-based decision making tools to regulators and food chain operators. The objectives of the project include expanding knowledge on food supplements, estimating intakes and consumption of plant food supplements of different population groups in Europe, and  to analyse benefits and risks of these particular food supplements category so to make informed consumers decisions, as well as competent authorities.

The project involves 25 partners from 4 continents (Europe, Africa, Asia and South America) and comprises leading academics, public research institutions, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, industry and non-profit organizations. In South Africa, PlantLIBRA’s partner is CSIR, an institution with a large research investment in botanicals, who has recently gained attention from the media for its activities.

Within PlantLIBRA, Hylobates Consulting is acting both as the project manager and the leading partner of the Work Package 5, whose activity is to integrate the information on risks and benefits, in order to support science-based decisions.

Together with Hylobates Consulting, the other Italian partners of the project are the Italian National Institute of Health and the University of Milan, which is the PlantLIBRA project coordinator, and SISTE, a non-profit scientific organization whose mission is to promote the science of botanicals in Italy. Learn more on PlantLIBRA.

The PlantLIBRA Management Team

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