National produce chemotyping project

John de la Parra 

Chemical constituents are the most essential components of the fresh produce items consumed by people around the world. That chemistry can be extremely variable based on a number of factors—but wealthy or poor, privileged or vulnerable, we humans are ultimately subject to the destiny meted out by the chemistry of the food we consume.

Indeed, nutritional content, flavor, color, texture, aroma, and even medicinal benefits are dictated by this chemistry, yet there has never been a thorough and comprehensive analysis of that chemistry in fresh produce items. The National Produce Chemotyping Project sets the stage to assess the chemical variability, or chemotypes, of those items. Ultimately this project will lead to:

  1. Unprecedented studies seeking to correlate specific chemical attributes of food to health and well-being for all people.
  2. Improved understanding of how the agricultural pipeline impacts food at the point of consumption, with the specific inclusion of food sources located in underserved communities.
  3. The piloting of a free, public-facing resource (The National Produce Chemotyping Database) with interpreted data available in a format that is user-friendly for even the most vulnerable populations.