The GrainMark study

From January 2007 to November 2009
Project Leader(s): Professor Chris Seal
Staff: Professor John Draper (Aberystwyth University), Dr Manfred Beckman (Aberystwyth University), Dr Alastair Ross (Nestlé Research Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland), Dr Kirsten Brandt (Co-applicant), Dr Sumanto Haldar (Post doctoral Researcher), Mrs Wendy Bal (Research Technician)
Sponsors: Food Standards Agency

The strong epidemiological data showing inverse relationships between wholegrain food consumption and decreased disease risk is currently being investigated in controlled dietary interventions. 

However, quantification of whole-grain intake and, in particular, establishing compliance with recommended intake levels in free-living individuals remains difficult.  In food, a group of phenolic lipids, the alkylresorcinols, are unique to cereal grains. They are absorbed and metabolised in the human body, and they therefore have potential for use as biomarkers of intake. 

This study will be the first to evaluate their usefulness as biomarkers of wholegrain foods commonly consumed in the UK, in comparison with mammalian lignans which are also derived from wholegrain foods.  The contribution of these components to the metabolome will also be evaluated to identify other possible markers of intake. 

The study will document the impact of consuming different quantities and types of whole grains on plasma profiles of alkylresorcinols in the context of the wider metabolome in order to provide the basis for identifying a robust marker of wholegrain food consumption.


Wendy Bal
Research Technician

Dr Kirsten Brandt
Senior Lecturer

Professor Chris Seal
Prof of Food & Human Nutrition