Metabolomic-Based Approach to Identify Biomarkers of Apple Intake

Aoife E. McNamara, Cassandra Collins, Pedapati S.C.Sri Harsha, Diana González-Peña, Helena Gibbons, Breige A. McNulty, Anne P. Nugent, Janette Walton, Albert Flynn, Lorraine Brennan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


Scope: There is an increased interest in developing biomarkers of food intake to address some of the limitations associated with self-reported data. The objective is to identify biomarkers of apple intake, examine dose–response relationships, and agreement with self-reported data. Methods and results: Metabolomic data from three studies are examined: an acute intervention, a short-term intervention, and a free-living cohort study. Fasting and postprandial urine samples are collected for analysis by 1H-NMR and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS). Calibration curves are developed to determine apple intake and classify individuals into categories of intake. Multivariate analysis of data reveals that levels of multiple metabolites increase significantly post-apple consumption, compared to the control food—broccoli. In the dose-response study, urinary xylose, epicatechin sulfate, and 2,6-dimethyl-2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-3,4-dihydro-2H-1-benzopyran increase as apple intake increases. Urinary xylose concentrations in a free-living cohort perform poorly at an individual level but are capable of ranking individuals in categories of intake. Conclusion: Urinary xylose exhibits a dose–response relationship with apple intake and performs well as a ranking biomarker in the population study. Other potential biomarkers are identified and future work will combine these with xylose in a biomarker panel which may allow for a more objective determination of individual intake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1901158
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number11
Early online date20 Apr 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Apr 2020


  • apples
  • biomarkers
  • dietary assessment
  • food intake
  • metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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