NUTRISHIELD App: The application “Platemate” from SWB is unique by representing nutrition in visual recognizable way. The relation between portion - weight and nutritional values gives the user a complete new and understandable insight in nutrition. The gamification of this complex information enhances use and deeper knowledge in food and the impact on blood sugar levels. Further development would be based on integrating VR technology (3D, camera recognition) and drill down capabilities of the data stream.
HM and urine analyser: Liquid analysing technology, as developed by QRT, is generic in nature. Therefore, it will be possible to apply this analyser to solve similarly defined analytical problems in other fields including quality control and process monitoring application in the food and industry. The chemical analysers for breast milk and urine are intended for new niche markets. The product concept will be deviated from analysers of QRT and developed based on the defined requirements of stakeholders. The figure below gives a vision of the targeted analyser solution for breast milk analysis, which should be easy to operate. The analyser concept should enable fast and robust analysis for the use by even untrained personnel. Vision of breast milk analyser with integrated sample treatment.
Breath analyser: A portable breath analyser for detection of a large number of gases at low concentration will find widespread use in medical diagnostics. It will supplement and partially replace GC and mass spectrometer-based detection and allow a wider use for non-invasively identifying diseases at an early stage. E.g. it has already been shown, that acetone in exhaled breath correlates with the fat burning rate, nitrous oxide with asthma and other inflammatory conditions, and isoprene with blood cholesterol. The picture below shows the commercial portable isotope ratio CO2 breath analyser, an analyser for many gases will be still portable but approximately twice as large.
Progress beyond the State of the Art (SotA)
Genome analysis, relation to nutrition & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: In the NUTRISHIELD project, the whole genome will be sequenced and used to provide personalised nutritional advice in children. Sequencing of the whole genome will allow for personalised nutrition advice based on a large spectrum of polymorphisms known to relate to metabolism, reaction to food or else. Furthermore, the observation of children during the study will allow the identification of novel genetic polymorphism that also relate to nutrient. These newly identified polymorphisms can then make the basis for further study. Also, NUTRISHIELD focuses on children that are still in the process of developing, and therefore have some different genetic pathway activated. It is possible this will lead to the discovery of previously unknown polymorphisms that relate child development to nutrition.
Microbiome analysis, relation to nutrition & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: In the NUTRISHIELD project, a novel technique will be used to analyse the microbiome. The technique employed is a Lineage Tracing strategy, which will allow for a precise and quantitative profiling of the microbiome of subjects throughout the study. The technique used has the capacity to detect over 300 different bacteria groups, and to accurately quantifying the relative abundance of each of them. Combined with high throughput the technique employed in the NUTRISHIELD project will allow the first longitudinal study of microtype evolution in a cohort of children.
Metabolome analysis, relation to nutrition & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: The metabolomics workflow employed in the NUTRISHIELD study will allow to implement new quality control measures based on the efficient implementation of quality control samples which are intercalated in the measurement sequence. The signal of quality control samples will allow to efficiently monitor and correct drifts in the instrument signal. This allows to boost the between-study and between-laboratory reproducibility which is crucial for extracting biologically meaningful information from complex data. Furthermore, the metabolite databases for automatized feature identification which will be developed in the course of the NUTRISHIELD project will significantly add to the knowledge resumed in on-line databases and scientific literature clearing the way for future metabolomics studies in infants.
Vitamin analysis, relation to nutrition & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: Here, cost effective, high-throughput and sensitive methods for the analysis of vitamins in breast milk will be applied together with a defined time point for standardization of human milk collection. Considering the multidisciplinary modern nutritional science methods proposed in the study to evaluate the impact of nutritional interventions on milk nutrients content, this constitutes a significant progress beyond the state of the art.
Breath analysis & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: Compared to many of the online techniques, laser-based spectroscopic techniques can provide an accurate and quantitative analysis result with an instrument that does not require an expert user. Such methods include: tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS), cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS), integrated cavity output spectroscopy (ICOS), cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS), photoacoustic techniques (PAS), quartz-enhanced photoacoustic techniques (QEPAS) and optical frequency comb (OFC) spectroscopy. Depending on the optical technique that is employed and the laser source used, laser spectroscopy can provide real-time detection of single or several volatile compounds, with detection limits ranging from the partper-million by volume (ppmv) to less than part-per-billion by volume (ppbv). Several review articles are available that present an overview of near-IR, mid-IR and ICL-based breath analysers, various techniques for specific molecules of interest, comparison with other techniques, challenges and perspectives. NUTRISHIELD plans to expand the capabilities of current SOTA, by integrating new methods of breath analysis, based on an ultra-widely tuneable external cavity Quantum Cascade Laser, aiming at providing a very wide field of applicability. This will be implemented by ARGOS, using lasers provided by ALPES, under the scientific requirements posed by RU, in order to provide a monitoring platform for the project. The breath analyser envisioned allows the sensitive and fast analysis of VOCs in breath which results from the metabolism of nutrients. VOCs may already be present at a base level, the instrument must be capable of resolving those concentration differences which are caused by changes of the metabolism and discriminate against those which may already be present in the environmental air. Thus, the analyser will
allow an in-situ time-resolved measurement of different gases (e.g. VOCs) recording their concentration profile within single breathes. The analyser must be capable to work with small sample volumes dictated by the small lung volume (and consequently low breath volume) of babies and small children. Such an analyser is not yet available. Speed and sensitivity of this breath analyser allow online use. There is no need to use sampling containers and therefore consumables are omitted. These goals require the construction of an analyser with a wide spectral band. Sensitivity, small sample volume and speed requirements suggest the use of lasers with emission in the spectral fingerprint range in order to identify the large number of VOCs. An analyser with such capabilities will be beneficial for other applications too, especially for non-invasive metabolic based diagnostics of diseases.
Urine analysis & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: Even though urine is a specimen used for non-invasive diagnostics and the indication that could be used for metabolic analysis, an extensive study on urine samples and the correlation of the concentration of metabolites to the nutrition status is still missing. The planned system will be capable of directly quantifying the major components in urine, such as urea and creatinine based on the analysis of its mid-IR spectra. It will also allow to be used as an alarm sensor for detecting unexpected evaluated concentrations of ketones, glucose and proteins. Furthermore, the project aims to identify a class of molecules that will allow to evaluate the nutrition status of a person and to expand the application of the mid-IR prototype to predict this status via evaluation of the fingerprint range of the corresponding urine spectra. The mid-IR system will be based on a QCL-based sensor prototype and designed for use in clinical settings. Thus, this innovative direct and reagent free analytical method for urine analysis developed at TUW will be implemented into a functional prototype. The prototype will include a liquid handling system enabling the batch sampling of samples. The liquid handling system will be optimized for a wide usability which includes the design of components with regards to chemical stability. A special focus on liquid handling will be on the cleaning procedures at reduced effort for the user. On the other hand, the mid-infrared optical sensor will be integrated with central research parameters low drift, noise stability and selectivity. The prototype will integrate the liquid handling and the optical sensor. The flow cell will be designed in a way that high sensitivity can be achieved by proper selection of flow parameters and optical path. The prototype will include a user interface that will support the operation, e.g. in validation.
Human milk analysis & monitoring in Clinical Validation Settings: The development of a functional prototype based on method development results from TUW will follow the typical product development process which starts with an in-depth requirements analysis with stakeholders (e.g. hospitals, medical re-search centres)). Focus will be given to the unique capability of the mid-spectral range to differentiate between different proteins by focusing on their highly characteristic secondary structures (α-lactalbumin, lactoferrin and casein). After this enhanced application evaluation, the technological steps towards an analyser prototype will be defined. The main development blocks which are considered for realization are the Alpes laser source specification (with respect to method spectral and end user robustness needs) and verification for industrial applicability in milk analysis, the optical components integration in a robust sensor system, the setup of a liquid handling platform for enhanced milk analysis, the overall prototype development including mechanics, electronics and optics. With respect to liquid handling of the milk samples a special effort will be required to establish sample homogeneity. Further, carry over effects in liquid handling will be reduced and proper cleaning cycles established. In order to enable efficient operation a low sample consumption will be required, e.g. effecting the design of tubes and flow cell. The goal is the validation and preparation of the prototype for end user tests. The data collected in the course of the validation study will allow to significantly enhance knowledge of the composition of breast milk in the context of maternal nutrition and the effects of changes in its composition on the infant’s health status.
Quantum Cascade Lasers based spectroscopy for biomarkers: Concerning liquid analysis we expect a significant increase in sensitivity (factor of ten) allowing to significantly extend the accessible concentration range for quantitative analysis. Furthermore, direct determination of latent variables such as oxidative stress among others will be possible by the enlarged tuning range (several hundreds of wavenumbers) by the new QCL sources. For QuantaRed Technologies broadening the accessible spectral range of the employed QCL sources is a key progress beyond the current state of the art. This extended tuning range will open a range of new application potentials not only in biomedical diagnosis and the food and feed industry but due to its generic nature also in many other liquid sensing applications.
Personalised nutrition planning: NUTRISHIELD aims to fill in this gap, combining genetic information with phenotyping measurements and other advanced data, so as to increase consumer trust, thus consumer acceptance, which is considered a key factor for the successful implementation of personalised nutrition is consumer acceptance. The combination of this scientific approach with modern technologies, easily adopted by young individuals, increases self-efficacy, which is considered the most important determinant of behaviour change, based on Social Cognitive Theory. In NUTRISHIELD study, mother’s diet will be directly assessed several times at baseline and during the Intervention (using both established methods, i.e., 4-day Food Diary and FFQ, and recent technological advances encompassing food picture uploading etc) providing timely informed updates about dietary changes, thus permitting their tracking. Also breast milk analysis will be frequently performed during the study, enabling the direct identification of associations between the diet of the lactating mother and her milk. In NUTRISHIELD study, our primary goal is to personalize the composition of the diet of the mother based, primarily, on genome analysis of the child, while also, secondarily, on anthropometric, clinical, dietary and biochemical characteristics of the mother.