Dietary Assessment & Further Development of Biomarkers for All

The role of diet in health is well established and current dietary and lifestyle patterns together with an ageing population has resulted in an increase in the prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes. Thus, precise measurements of dietary intake are central for health and nutrition research, and in recent years there has been many advances in the use of technology for dietary assessment. However, the lack of standardised dietary assessment methods and their related research support infrastructure remains a major obstacle to conduct region-specific research which is required to implement health promotion action plans worldwide. The availability of detailed, high‐quality dietary intake data is necessary for epidemiological research, clinical applications and its importance has been highlighted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for dietary surveillance with regards to both nutrition and food safety. While there have been on-going efforts to improve the methods and tools used to carry out nutrition assessment/surveillance, there is no universal standardised dietary assessment tool for surveillance, risk assessment and epidemiological studies (including cohort studies) on an international scale. In addition to a need for a standardised dietary assessment tool, it is also well acknowledged that the use of objective measures of dietary intake e.g. biomarkers can increase the quality of nutrition and lifestyle research and can strengthen the estimation of intakes. However, the application of biomarker measures of dietary intake in studies has many challenges including the burden and invasiveness of specimen collection the lack of reliable markers for many dietary exposures and the usually short timeframe of intake reflected.

Hence, the objectives of this research project are to

  1. develop an open-source researcher-led dietary assessment tool (with machine learning capabilities for automatic classification) for harmonisation of dietary data across Europe
  2. to advance on-going biomarker research in the area of nutritional status and health.

An important aspect of this project will be the involvement of end users and stakeholders from the design through to the acceptability phase. This research is being carried out by a consortium with a breadth and depth of experience to improve methodologies for dietary intake assessment and biomarker measurements for population food consumption surveys and epidemiological research.


Partner Organization Partner Country
IT Sligo Ireland
German Institute of Human Nutrition (DifE) Germany
IMDEA Food Institute Spain
San Carlos Hospital Spain


A key result to-date is the publication of a systematic review entitled 'Prioritizing biomarkers as objective measues of nutrient and food intake for dietary surveys' (DOI:10.5281/zenodo.7991186).


Title: An Analysis of Available European Food Composition Databases to Enable the Development of a Technology-Based Dietary Assessment Tool
Author: Hannah Al-Sehaim*, Laura Kehoe* & Janette Walton*
Start- and endpage:
Title: Prioritizing biomarkers as objective measures of nutrient and food intake for dietary surveys
Author: Marcela Prada*, Franziska Jannasch*, Christine El-Khoury* & Matthias B. Schulze*
Start- and endpage:
Title: Fecal Microbiota Composition as a Metagenomic Biomarker of Dietary Intake
Author: Nathalia Caroline de Oliveira Melo , Amanda Cuevas-Sierra, Edwin Fernández-Cruz*, Victor de la O* & José Alfredo Martínez*
Start- and endpage:
Title: Biomarcadores dietéticos: metaboloma alimentario y su relación con la nutrición de precisión
Author: Victor de la O*, Edwin Fernández Cruz* & Jose Alfredo Martinez*
Start- and endpage:

Communication & Dissemination Activities

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communication
Scientific AudienceHannah Al-Sehaim*, Laura Kehoe* & Janette Walton*, An Analysis of Available European Food Composition Databases to Enable Development of a Technology-Based Dietary Assessment Tool, ORBIOM Conference, MTU 2022Poster Presentation
Scientific AudienceEdwin Fernández-Cruz, Importancia del uso de los biomarcadores de ingesta alimentaria, XXVIII Jornadas internacionales de Nutrición Práctica 2023Oral Communication
Scientific AudienceVictor de la O, Exploring Nutritional-Health Precision Potential: unveiling emerging categorizations of Dietotypes, RETREAT Event 2023Poster Presentation
Scientific AudienceEdwin Fernández-Cruz, Dietary Deal: innovative measurement of dietary pattern using omics approaches, RETREAT Event 2023Oral Presentation


Project number:
Duration: 80%
Duration: 80 %
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Dr Janette Walton
Responsible organisation:
Munster Technological University, Ireland