Health promoting substances and microorganisms

Increasing attention is currently being given to the possibility of enhancing general public health by use of health-promoting substances and microorganisms. These substances may either be naturally occurring or added to the food by fortification with the purpose of making it healthier.

The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark has ongoing research projects within the following related subjects. 


The National Food Institute carries out research into food enrichment by the addition of Omega-3 from fish oil.

Our focus is on developing technologies to ensure that the healthy Omega-3 is retained during production and storage of the products and to ensure that the products keep their flavour. 

Probiotic and prebiotics 

We also study food enrichment by adding live and potentially beneficial bacteria (probiotics) or carbohydrates, which are selectively fermented by specific gut bacteria, thus modifying the bacterial composition and/or activity (prebiotics).

Focus is on studying the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on the composition of the gut microbiota and how this affects the host organism in relation to the development of the immune system and to risk factors for common metabolic disorders, including low-grade inflammation, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Bioactive peptides

Our research activities also include bioactive health-promoting peptides from fish by-products aimed at a better utilisation of the aquatic resource.

Natural antioxidant 

Ingestion of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin has potential beneficial health effects for humans. Research is going into developing methods for utilising and demonstrating the beneficial health effects of a natural oxidant in relation to chronic duodenal ulcers.

Astaxanthin is present in seafood and can be recognised by the red colour in boiled crustacean and salmon filets.

In collaboration with Copenhagen University Hospital, the health-promoting effects in relation to chronic duodenal ulcers are being investigated.

Vitamin D and selenium

Epidemiological studies show that diet and other lifestyle factors play an important role in health issues.  

The National Food Institute conducts research on the health-promoting effects of fruit and vegetables as well as vitamin D and selenium and their potential for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases.  

The effects are primarily examined in animal studies, but also in human intervention studies.  


DTU Systembiologi
University of Massachusetts
University of Kiel
Industrial partners in Denmark and abroad
University of Copenhagen
Tromsø University
University ogf the Faroe Island
Aarhus University
Marinova A/S


Charlotte Jacobsen
Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 23 27 90 75


Tine Rask Licht
Deputy Head of Institute, Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 71 86


Morten Poulsen
Senior Researcher, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 76 06