From the possible cancer chemopreventive effects of certain foods to the toxic effects of the likes of melamine, the benefits and safety of food are never far from people’s minds. HKU researchers are applying their expertise to deepen our understanding of these issues.
Researchers from the Faculties of Science, Medicine, Social Sciences and Engineering are combining forces in this Emerging SRT on Food. They are applying a wide variety of scientific approaches to enhance food safety and quality, explain the health benefits of certain food components, link scientific and medical research on food, and identify food contaminants and toxins that are potentially harmful to human health.
Their work has been organised into three areas. The first concerns food safety, food-related disease and biomonitoring. Scientists are investigating bacterial food poisoning and the toxicity levels of certain foods, and developing strategies to address these issues. They plan to establish a research group on clinical biomonitoring, which will work with local hospitals to monitor foodborne and environmental chemicals, and food-related diseases. New strategies will also be developed to control the formation of food toxicants in food production.
The second area concerns food security and bioactive food components. Research here is focused on identifying novel molecular pathways in plants and using these to develop strategies for optimising food production, and applying biological evaluation to figure out potential food components with health benefits and develop healthy foods.
The third area of research will investigate food policy and how food is regulated and monitored.
The output of this Emerging SRT is expected to boost basic and applied research on food and benefit public health and the local food and nutritional industry.