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LYCOCARD - Role of Lycopene for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases


Cardiovascular diseases, along with cancer, are the main mortality causes in Europe and other developed countries. Lycopene is a plant pigment found in high concentration in red fruits, especially tomatoes - Europe's second-most important crop. Strong correlative evidence suggests that lycopene may provide important protection against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, these two aspects -lycopene content of tomatoes and lycopene's beneficial effects - have not been sufficiently linked because research has lacked a total food chain approach. The missing links in the chain are the development of healthy new foods and nutritional guidelines. There are also many details regarding bioavailability, metabolism, and molecular mecha­nisms of lycopene biological activities that are still unknown. <P>
LYCOCARD will investigate the role of lycopene in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, adopting a total food chain approach by addressing each link in a fork to farm approach.<P>
LYCOCARD's multidisciplinary, intersectorial consortium of scientists, technologists, and patient organisations contains the critical mass to achieve these ambitious aims. Specifically, LYCOCARD will clarify the following points: effects of technological processing on lycopene, interac tions between differ­ent food ingredients, molecular aspects of absorption and metabo­lism of lycopene, and biological effects of lycopene isomers and lycopene metabolites. <P>
This information will lead to improved nutritional guidelines and healthy new foods based on tomatoes. These novel dietary guidelines will help consumers select specific diets to prevent and minimise their disease risk. LYCOCARD will thus improve the health of European con­sumers and reduce the costs of health systems, while also signifi cantly advancing the state of the art. In addition, the position of the European food industry will be strengthened by increasing the demand for health-related tomato products.

More information

For more information about this project, please visit the <a


target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.

B&amp;ouml;hm, Volker
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
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