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Natural Products and Food - Research and Analysis (NatuRA)

Research Group

Lifecycle:1 Oct 2003 →  30 Sep 2022
Organisation profile:The consortium on Natural Products & Food Research and Analysis has a unique expertise in Flanders in the areas of: (1) method development and validation for quality control of herbal medicinal products and food supplements, (2) fundamental research on medicinal plants, (3) identification of biologically active compounds in food and (4) active drug metabolite profiling. NatuRA combines the complementary expertise of three research teams at the University of Antwerp: (a)Pharmaceutical Analysis, (b) Pharmacognosy, (c) Nutrition and Functional Food Science The mission of NatuRA is to develop phytotherapeutics and nutraceuticals and to prove the activity of existing food supplements. The consortium has a fast purification and identification platform for natural compounds and a gastrointestinal dialysismodel to resolve the mechanism of metabolisation and the identification of the metabolites of active compounds. Furthermore the consortium can perform in vitro and in vivo tests on oxidative stress, and a hepatoprotective in vivo rat model, as well as an antiangiogenic rat aorta test are available. The Laboratory of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Analysis is active in the field of medicinal plant research in a broad sense. Investigations are carried out on the biological activity of medicinal plants, on the bioassay-guided isolation and structure elucidation of active principles, as well as on the analysis of plant preparations and herbal medicinal products Selected biologically active natural products are used as lead compounds for new potential therapeutic agents, by synthesising more active or more selective analogues, in cooperation with other research groups on a local, national or international level. The lab has an official Belgian accreditation (Belac) for the analysis and quality control of plant preparations and medicinal products. Research activities of the Laboratory of Nutrition and Functional Food Science are aimed at providing a scientific evaluation for possible health promoting food ingredients. The lab is specialized in in vitro and in vivo research of the metabolisation by the intestinal flora, absorption and antioxidative activity of food constituents. The focus is on antioxidants and polyphenols. Furthermore, the laboratory has a long tradition in analysing and studying the availability of minerals and trace elements from different matrices (foods, drugs, biological matrices, ...). The lab has expertise in dietary intake assessment methods, permitting analyses and interpretation of the nutritional value of foods, meals, diets and eating patterns.
Disciplines:Nutrition and dietetics, Biomarker discovery and evaluation, Drug discovery and development, Medicinal products, Pharmacognosy and phytochemistry, Food sciences and (bio)technology, Pharmaceutical analysis and quality assurance