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Genes Nutr. 2018 Feb 20;13:3. doi: 10.1186/s12263-018-0592-8. eCollection 2018.

Guidelines for Biomarker of Food Intake Reviews (BFIRev): how to conduct an extensive literature search for biomarker of food intake discovery.

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1Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2Nutrition and Metabolism Section, Biomarkers Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France.
3Agroscope, Federal Office of Agriculture, Berne, Switzerland.
4University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
5INRA, Human Nutrition Unit, Université Clermont Auvergne, F63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
6UCD, Institute of Food and Health, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
7Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen UR, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
8Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
9Biomarkers and Nutrimetabolomics Laboratory, Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and Gastronomy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
10CIBER de Fragilidad y Envejecimiento Saludable (CIBERFES), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Barcelona, Spain.
11European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy.
12University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland UK.


Identification of new biomarkers of food and nutrient intake has developed fast over the past two decades and could potentially provide important new tools for compliance monitoring and dietary intake assessment in nutrition and health science. In recent years, metabolomics has played an important role in identifying a large number of putative biomarkers of food intake (BFIs). However, the large body of scientific literature on potential BFIs outside the metabolomics area should also be taken into account. In particular, we believe that extensive literature reviews should be conducted and that the quality of all suggested biomarkers should be systematically evaluated. In order to cover the literature on BFIs in the most appropriate and consistent manner, there is a need for appropriate guidelines on this topic. These guidelines should build upon guidelines in related areas of science while targeting the special needs of biomarker methodology. This document provides a guideline for conducting an extensive literature search on BFIs, which will provide the basis to systematically validate BFIs. This procedure will help to prioritize future work on the identification of new potential biomarkers and on validating these as well as other biomarker candidates, thereby providing better tools for future studies in nutrition and health.


Biomarkers; Food exposure markers; Literature search methodology; Metabolomics; Systematic review

Conflict of interest statement

Not applicable.Not applicable.The author Hans Verhagen is employed with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, the present article is published under the sole responsibility of Hans Verhagen, and the positions and opinions presented in this article are those of the authors alone and are not intended to represent the views or scientific works of EFSA. All the other authors declare that they have no competing interests.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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