• What is Foodomics?

Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

What is Foodomics?

Jul 25 2022

From monitoring microbial activity during yogurt fermentation to detecting adulteration in products like honey and olive oil, foodomics has reimagined the limits of analysis in the food and beverage sector. So, what exactly is foodomics and why does it matter? Read on to find out more about this complex scientific discipline.

The origins of foodomics

The concept of foodomics was first introduced at an international conference in Italy. The conference focussed on the use of high-throughput “omics” technologies, combined with traditional chemistry, biology and data analysis techniques, to drive advances in food science.

It quickly gained traction in the scientific community, with genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and transcriptomics stepping up as the main “omics” technologies used in foodomics analysis. These advanced techniques allowed scientists to rapidly analyse thousands of different genes, proteins, metabolites and transcriptomes in a single sample.

Not only did this drastically expand the scope of data available to scientists but it slashed laboratory analysis times. Researchers soon incorporated other omics subdisciplines, such as lipidomics, metallomics, epigenomics, diseasomics and interactomics, to unlock even more data.

A novel approach to food analysis

An article published in the journal Genes & Nutrition in 2012, just a few years after the concept of foodomics was coined, recalls just how exciting the approach was at the time.

“Foodomics is a new approach to food and nutrition that studies the food domain as a whole with the nutrition domain to reach the main objective, the optimisation of human health and well-being,” write the authors. “Thanks to the omics approach, researchers are now facing the possibility of connecting food components, foods, the diet, the individual, the health, and the diseases, but this broad vision needs not only the application of advanced technologies, but mainly the ability of looking at the problem with a different approach, a “foodomics approach”.

Modern applications for foodomics

Today, foodomics has a wide range of applications. In an article published in the journal Trends in Analytical Chemistry, the authors explain how foodomics is being used to study the bioactive role of foods. The team explore how foodomics techniques allow scientists to understand more about the bioactive role of foods, how they support human health and the potential to fight chronic disease.

Foodomics has also revolutionised how the food industry combats fraud and criminal activity. From targeted methods like PCR testing and DNA sequencing to non-targeted techniques like MALDI (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionisation) coupled with Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), we take a closer look at the cutting-edge technologies being used to fight criminal activity in ‘A Complete Guide to Food Fraud & Foodomics’


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