NatuRA, Natural products and food – Research & Analysis, is a consortium comprising the Laboratories of Pharmacognosy, Pharmaceutical Analysis and Nutrition and Functional Food Science. This team of experts is active in the field of medicinal plants, natural products and food science.
This research group is specialized in chromatographic separation, isolation and structure elucidation of natural products.
The research of Prof. L. Pieters is focused on the isolation and identification using spectroscopic methods of biologically active natural compounds from medicinal plants resulting in scientific publications and doctoral scripts in this field. In collaboration with other research groups, more profound structure-activity relationship studies of certain product classes have already been carried out, such as saponins, dihydrobenzofuran lignans, flavonoids and neocryptolepin alkaloids.
Prof. L. Pieters achieved a substantial reputation on international level, as he is a regularly invited speaker on international conferences and he is editor-in-chief of Planta Medica – Journal of Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research since 2007.
The University Centre for the Analysis of Pharmaceuticals and Health Products (UCAG²) of the University of Antwerp (Belgium) has a long and unique expertise for the analysis and quality control of herbal medicinal products. Drugs and herbal medicinal are analysed in a laboratory working conform to ISO17025. The focus of UCAG² is method development and validation. There is a close collaboration with QUERCUS Labo for batch control.
Research activities of the Nutrition and Functional Food Science group are aimed at providing a scientific evaluation for possible health promoting food ingredients.
Prof. N. Hermans is specialized in the scientific evaluation of health promoting food ingredients. The lab of Nutrition and Functional Food Science has expertise in the in vitro and in vivo research of the metabolism by the intestinal flora, absorption and antioxidative activity of food constituents and measurement of oxidative stress biomarkers in vitro and in vivo. The focus is on antioxidants and polyphenols. Furthermore, the laboratory has a long tradition in analyzing and studying the availability of minerals and trace elements from different matrices (food, drugs, biological matrices, ...).
The lab has expertise in dietary intake assessment methods, permitting analyses and interpretation of the nutritional value of foods, meals, diets and eating patterns.