It is with incredible pleasure that Human Nutrition Unit Lab announces that both the applications submitted in the frame of the PRIMA CallPRIMA – Initiative Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area” have been funded!! The PI for the Italian Partnership for both the projects is Prof. Daniele Del Rio and the projects are entitled ““MED4Youth – Mediterranean Enriched Diet for tackling Youth Obesity” and “SAFFROMFOOD – Valorisation of saffron and its floral by-products as sustainable innovative sources for the development of high added-value food products”.

The official announcement of the funding for both the projects has been released at the end of December 2018 by PRIMA Board and today it has been officially shared by the University of Parma on the website and twitter channels, which highlights that both the projects will bring a total funding of 640K €!

The overall objective of the PRIMA programme is to build research and innovation capacities and to develop knowledge and common innovative solutions for agro-food systems, to make them sustainable, and for integrated water provision and management in the Mediterranean area, to make those systems and that provision and management more climate resilient, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally and socially sustainable, and to contribute to solving water scarcity, food security, nutrition, health, well-being and migration problems upstream.

Concerning the task force, Prof. Daniele Del Rio involved also other permanent staff of the Human Nutrition Unit – as Proff. Furio Brighenti, Francesca Scazzina and Nicoletta Pellegrini – Post-Docs – Pedro Mena, Donato Angelino, Daniela Martini, Alice Rosi, Margherita Dall’Asta and Letizia Bresciani, other than PhD students and post-graduate fellows. The network has been enlarged by involving also, for the SAFFROMFOOD Project, the Food Microbiology Unit of the Department of Food and Drug – Proff. Erasmo Neviani, Camilla Lazzi and Valentina Bernini, and for the MED4Youth Project Prof. Federico Bergenti – Department of Mathematic, Physic and Computer Sciences and Prof. Carlo Caffarelli from the Department of Medicine and Surgery.

Concerning the Projects, the main objective of MED4Youth is to strengthen the link between the MD and health benefits against youth obesity and associated CVD risk factors through the identification of evident positive effects exerted by an energy-restricted MD including healthy products from the Mediterranean basin (mixed nuts, pomegranate and hummus) and sourdough bread. The project also aims to elucidate whether the health effects of MD are associated with changes in the gut microbiota and gut-derived metabolites in order to shed light on the interplay between MD, gut microbiome, metabolome and youth obesity which, at present, remains poorly elucidated. The Consortium is composed by Fundació Eurecat (Spain – Leader Partner), Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal) and Industries like NOVAPAN S.L. (Spain), Shikma Field Crops (Israel) e Scientific Food Centre (Jordan).

The SAFFROMFOOD main objective is the development of food products with high nutritional value by using sub-/waste products of the cultivation of saffrom (Crocus sativus) by using a high sustainable productive process. The SAFFROMFOOD proposal falls within the scope of the valorisation of Mediterranean traditional food. The increase of the added value of the saffron and the valorisation of its floral by-products, in in line with the policies of improving the health and nutritional quality of the food produced within the Mediterranean area. This would have an impact in the health of the population, going beyond their nutritional needs, through an adaptation of the current agri-food industry to the production of functional products with healthy properties due to the raw materials (saffron and its floral by-products) unique properties regarding bioactive composition. Moreover, the optimization of the agricultural practices to produce a high quality saffron would lead to a unique source to enrich the traditional Mediterranean diet. The other partners of the Project witll be the Centre de Recherche Scientifique et Technique sur les Régions Arides (Algeria), Max Rubner-Institut (Germany), INRA-Nutri Neuro (France), Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (Portugal), industries like Activ’Inside (France) and Universities, like the Universidad de Murcia (Spain), Université Abderrahmane Mira de Béjaia (Algeria) and Universidad Miguel Hernandez (Spain – Leader Partner).

2019 will be a very intense year for the Human Nutrition Unit Lab, follow us on socials!!

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