Foodomics is a discipline in the field of food and nutrition that applies and integrates comprehensive high-throughput -omics technologies to improve human health, well-being, and nutritional knowledge. Foodomics encompasses the global food domain, including fields such as nutrigenomics. Studies in foodomics may focus on areas such as the mechanisms of different bioactive food components in the body, the quantification of dietary biomarkers to identify different health states, the assessment of food quality and safety, or examination of the body's biological response to different nutritional patterns.

Pyramid annotatedFoodomics is considered a subdiscipline of the four major types of omcs: genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics. Genomics and proteomics arose in the 1990s from the introduction of high-throughput technologies for rapid DNA sequencing and comprehensive MS-based protein identification (, , ). This resulted in the development of microarrays that allowed the rapid and comprehensive characterization of gene expression, leading to the emergence of transcriptomics in the early 2000s (). These disciplines quickly precipitated the development of metabolomics. Metabolomics is the application of high-throughput analytical chemistry technologies (LC-MS, NMR, GC-MS) directed at characterizing the metabolome (i.e. the small molecules associated with metabolism) (, ). Though not as rapid or as high throughput as its omics cousins, metabolomics allows researchers to measure hundreds or even thousands of metabolites at a time, as opposed to only one or a few compounds. This new-found capacity to measure so many chemicals at once led to a number of metabolomic projects, aimed at identifying the metabolomes of microbes (), plants () and humans (, , ). These types of projects typically employ LC-MS, GC-MS, NMR or a combination of all 3 techniques to identify and/or quantify as many metabolites as possible in cells, tissues and biofluids of the organisms of interest. These comprehensive metabolomic studies were also complemented by a number of much more specific metabolomic studies aimed at characterizing the metabolic responses of humans to the intake of various foods or food constituents such as soy (), citrus fruits (), nuts (), meats () and tea ().

Metabolite levels are of particular biological importance because, like the canary in a coal mine, they are usually the first to respond to both internal physiological and external environmental changes in state. This makes them useful for various tasks, such as monitering and studying the body's immediate response to stimuli, developing biomarkers for early disease detection, and optimizing agricultural production and food safety.

For more information see: Scalbert A, Brennan L, Manach C, Andres-Lacueva C, Dragsted LO, Draper J, Rappaport SM, van der Hooft JJ, Wishart DS. The food metabolome: a window over dietary exposure. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jun;99(6):1286-308. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.076133. Epub 2014 Apr 23. 24760973
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