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European network to advance carotenoid research and applications in agro-food and health

Funding type: 
EU Programmes
EU Programme: 
18 April 2016 to 17 April 2020
ENEA role: 
Reference laboratory: 
ENEA Project Leader: 
Gianfranco Diretto

The goal of EUROCAROTEN is to enhance the competitiveness of the European agro-food industry and promote health by coordinating research on carotenoids. These are of great importance in this context as they are versatile and can be used as natural colorants, antioxidants, sources of vitamin A and functional ingredients. Of the over 750 carotenoids described ca. 10 are being thoroughly studied, so there is much potential to produce positive impacts at different levels. The research question EUROCAROTEN will address is: what novel sources of carotenoids, little studied carotenoids and/or beneficial actions can be harnessed to increase the competitiveness of the European agro-food industry and promote health? However, research on carotenoids is challenging as they are very difficult to work with. This and the lack of dialogue between largely scattered groups result in a waste of resources that hinders progress. Unlike in other regions, there is not a European network on carotenoids. This scenario is not appropriate to optimize efforts and create synergies and undoubtedly places Europe in a disadvantageous position. EUROCAROTEN will gather and articulate a critical mass of European actors to promote the co-operative use of infrastructures, synergistic interactions and the sharing, generation, application and communication of knowledge. This will contribute to strengthening Europe's research and innovation capacities. As a result it will generate breakthroughs leading to applications like new technologies and/or high-quality foods and the establishment of health-promoting nutritional recommendations. Thus, the Action will contribute to create wealth, improve health and reduce costs related to serious diseases.