A holistic approach for the toxicological assessment of phytogenic substances in human and animal nutrition.

  • Weghuber, J. (Speaker)
  • Peter Lanzerstorfer (Speaker)
  • Georg Philipp Sandner (Speaker)
  • Jonathan Grasberger (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Natural compounds have been a good source for new bioactive drugs for a long time and provide unique structural diversity. Nowadays, phytogenic substances are widely-used in human nutrition and animal production. However, there is little or no information about possible negative effects of phytochemical addition to feed and food on animal and human health. Within this regard, the cytotoxic potential of phytogenic substances might be currently underestimated, as a natural compound is not necessarily safer than other products. It is therefore of critical importance to assess the toxicological potential of such substances. Nowadays, the European food and feed market is strictly regulated and monitored by different authorities, most important the European Food Safety Authority and the European Union Reference Laboratories. New food and feed additives are evaluated by scientific panels, which deliver opinions on the safety of food supplements, mainly based on available literature data. Furthermore, novel food and feed ingredients have to undergo a science-based safety assessment demonstrating that the additive has no harmful effects, on human and animal health and on the environment, before being placed on the European market. Therefore, there is a great demand for toxicity testing, not only in basic science, but also for companies. Importantly, alternative methods to animal testing are promoted and in general desirable, to minimize the use of experimental animals. Within this regard, alternative approaches are gaining momentum. Here we present a holistic approach for the toxicological assessment of phytogenic substances in human and animal nutrition using comprehensive in-vitro, in-ovo and in-vivo evaluation methodologies. To reduce the number of experimental animals, fast and adaptable toxicity testing in living organisms is carried out using different cell culture models, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the hens egg test on the chorioallantois membrane (HET-CAM) and the chick embryo screening test (CHEST). In a first step, various toxicological endpoint measurements were set up and validated with respect to reproducibility and applicability by using known toxic modulators. By combining the data from in-vitro cell cultures as well as from whole animal approaches (HET-CAM, CHEST and C. elegans) with intact and metabolically active digestive, reproductive, endocrine, sensory and neuromuscular systems, we can provide a toxicity screening approach which will be as predictive as rat our mouse LD50 ranking screens. Furthermore, the assays allow for detailed sophisticated single cell/organism analysis but can also be easily adapted for high-content and high-throughput screening purposes.
Period11 Oct 2019
Event titleEUSAAT Annual Congress
Event typeConference
LocationLinz, AustriaShow on map