Plants form the basis of human nutrition. They provide both energy and fibers, vitamins and micronutrients, which are important for human health.
Subject of our research at the Joint Lab PhaSe is research how secondary plant metabolites - e.g. carotenoids, glucosinolates, and polyphenols - from plant-based food affect our health and influence the development of diet-related diseases. We combine the expertise of the three partner institutes to investigate the mode of action of plant metabolites in animal and human model systems in an interdisciplinary approach.
In addition to investigating the health benefits of secondary plant metabolites, the Joint Lab PhaSe promotes research on plant-based food quality and how beneficial properties can be improved through targeted influence on cultivation and processing methods.The findings of the Joint Lab will help to provide information on alternative cultivation methods for horticultural products and to develop effective recommendations to enable a healthy diet adapted to the respective life circumstances and health situation.
The impact of plants and plant-based food on human metabolism and well-being is highly dependent on the diversity, composition and quality of plant foods. Therefore, at the IGZ genotypic diversity studies are performed on the composition of plant metabolites and their specific influence on the human body. Through application of various elicitors, the production of protective substances can be stimulated, which often have health-promoting effects. For example, the application of signal molecules, the use of different nutrients or different light qualities can modulate the production of secondary plant metabolites. Based on this, the DIfE focusses on the elucidation of molecular causes of nutrition-related diseases in order to develop new strategies for prevention, therapy and nutritional recommendations. Especially changes in the metabolism of elderly persons (50+) are studied (keyword: "healthy aging"). The Institute of Nutritional Science at the Potsdam University contributes with research on possible genotoxic effects of plant metabolites.