Activity Profiling

A key expertise of our group is the comprehensive analysis of single compounds, food ingredients or complex extracts, food contaminants as well as nanoparticles regarding potential bioactivities in vitro. In food science and nutrition it is important to characterize constituents with respect to their properties and mode of action enabling scientists to give sound recommendations for a healthy diet and also alert for restrictions when health of man and/ animal is at risk.  

A spectrum of tools such as analytical and toxicological assays, molecular biology, imaging and flow cytometry together with sophisticated state of the art equipment are used for bioactivity profiling. Usually the first step in bioactivity profiling is the selection of an appropriate cell model for answering the respective scientific questions. Our group continuously develops different cell models and has models available to study the impact on inflammation (THP1 macrophage model), evaluate gastro-mimetic processes, investigate effects on the gastro intestinal tract (panel of gastro intestinal cell lines including non-transformed cell lines) and the stability, uptake and metabolism of food constituents (Caco2 trans-well system).

The second step consists in the testing of either complex mixtures or single substances by a spectrum of in vitro assays measuring potential endpoints of interest, such as oxidative capacity, cellular ROS levels, DNA integrity, topoisomerase activity, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and methylation status of gene promotors, mutation analysis (HPRT assay), gene expression analysis, different signaling pathways involved in oxidative stress (Nrf2/Keap1), cell proliferation (tyrosine kinase, MAPkinase, WNT/β-catenin) and inflammation (NFκB).

We also analyze the bioactivity of complex mixtures of food stuffs down to a single potential lead-compound by activity-guided fractionation, applying semi-prep HPLC MS/MS amongst others. Recently, special emphasis is given to the impact of combinatory effects of different food constituents and/ or contaminants on cell growth, viability, oxidative stress and DNA integrity.

The final third step in bioactivity profiling is the proof of concept in animal and/or human intervention studies. In this regard we closely collaborate with other research groups of the University of Vienna as well as other national and international collaboration partners.