I am delighted to introduce the book “Foodomics Omic Strategies and Applications in Food Science” to the scientific community. The main motivation of editing this book on foodomics was to document the latest research on this cutting-edge technology and to provide a general overview and updated applications by the hands of renowned international experts in the field. The term “Foodomics” was proposed a decade ago by Prof. Cifuentes, one of the contributors to this book. This term was intended to compile in a single discipline all advanced molecular techniques used to achieve proper food analysis. Since then, this discipline has experienced amazing development for several reasons: (i) the tremendous technical advances in the equipments and methodologies involved; (ii) the emergence of new challenges in food analysis, mainly derived from novel threats to food safety, and (iii) the discovery of the role of food components in human health, which has resulted in the development of novel terms such as nutrigenomics or nutrimetabolomics. In this text we provide, to the best of our knowledge, the most up-to-date reference book on the most relevant applications of omics in food science. This would not have been possible without the active participation of a myriad of relevant scientists from three continents that have generously shared their knowledge through specific and exhaustive chapters.
The book is divided into four sections. The first section provides the background, including an introduction to the development of foodomics, focusing on the concept and main applications, but also providing a general overview of advanced DNA-based, protein-based and chemometrics methods currently used in food analysis. The second section describes the basic foodomics strategies for the assessment of food safety, including the investigation of biological hazards in foods, such as foodborne bacteria or bacteriophages, but also contaminants and chemical hazards. This section also includes specific chapters focused on hot topics such as the detection of genetically-modified organisms, food authenticity and the development of miniaturized methods to provide more powerful and sensitive tools under portable formats. The third section is focused on the application of foodomics to specific food groups and how omics have spurred the investigation of dairy and meat products, seafood, agricultural and fermented food stuffs. Lastly, the fourth section includes specific chapters focused on the applications of omics to unveil the role of food components in human health. Special attention has been paid here to nutrimetabolomics, which has experienced great development in the last decade. Likewise, the role of probiotics in the composition of the human microbiome and their involvement in human health are also revised. Another hot topic of increasing clinical concern, i.e. food allergy, has also been considered in this section.
I should not end this preface without expressing my deepest gratitude to all authors involved in this exciting text for their dedication and hard work. I also wish to thank the Royal Society of Chemistry, especially Nicki Dennis for helping in the design of such an exciting project, and Katie Morrey, Liv Towers and Clarissa Soares for their wonderful technical assistance. Thanks very much to all of you.
Jorge Barros-Velázquez, Editor
Santiago de Compostela