The holistic nature of food


Foods are not just a mixture of ingredients, whose properties remain unchanged when they are part of a complex system. Indeed, food is not the cumulative combination of the properties of each single constituent. Once created, it has its own holistic nature, which derives not only from the composition, but also from the interactions between its different substances. It is what we call “the food structure”. The scientific consequence is that the analytical approach is not enough to describe food quality, as it implies the decomposition of the system in the fundamental components, thus disrupting the essential interactions that are the intrinsic players of the quality. This matter of fact inspired foodomics, the approach investigating food and nutrition as a whole. The omics suffix stands for the description of the overall ensemble of substances and interactions as a whole. Thus, methodologies going beyond analysis, such as those based on spectroscopies, are essential. Not only to study food as a static system, which is not the truth, but as a dynamically evolving structure, exposed to the environment and to the physiological processes. The seminar will open this challenging perspective to the food scientists.


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