Press Release 071/2012

Healthy Nutrition on the Upper Rhine

The German-French Research Network Studies the Impact of Local Fruit and Vegetables on Human Health. Scientists of KIT and MRI Are Participating in This Project
Wie sich der Verzehr von Gemüse und Obst auf die Gesundheit auswirkt, erforschen  Wissenschaftler im deutsch-französischen Netzwerk (Foto:
The German-French network focuses on how the consumption of vegetables and fruit influences human health. (Photo:

How do asparagus, apples or walnuts influence obesity, cardiovascular diseases or cancer? This is the subject of research conducted by German and French scientists of the nutrition network in the Upper Rhine region. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Max Rubner-Institut (MRI) participate in this project that is coordinated by the University of Strasbourg. The results will be presented by the network in a symposium on Thursday, May 24, in Strasbourg. The interested public is invited to come. The joint course of studies was certified by EUCOR last year.

How do eating habits and the frequency of nutrition-related diseases differ regionally and to what an extent do the micronutrients in fruit and vegetables (i.e. vitamins, minerals, and secondary plant substances) decrease the risk of cancer or cardiovascular diseases? This has been the subject of studies performed by scientists of numerous institutes in the Upper Rhine region under the project since 2009. KIT is involved with its Institute of Process Engineering in Life Sciences, Section I: Food Process Engineering, headed by Professor Heike Schuchmann and the Institute for Applied Biosciences, Food Chemistry and Toxicology Division led by Professor Andrea Hartwig. Dr. Stephan Barth, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, and Dr. Cornelie Pfau, Department of Nutritional Behaviour, from the Max Rubner-Institut in Karlsruhe are also engaged in this research. Professor Eric Marchioni from the University of Strasbourg, Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, coordinates the project. Further participants are the cancer research center Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale headed by Dr. Francis Raul, the Centre de Ressources Technologiques – Institut Technique Agro-Industriel directed by Dr. Alain Strasser, and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) headed by Dr. Michel Miesch.

It is the objective of the international network to study the nutritional situation in the Upper Rhine region and to establish a research and communication platform freely accessible for the public. The scientists also developed methods for conducting and evaluating consumption studies in the Upper Rhine region. First results of the pilot study of food consumption and in particular of the consumption of products typical of the Upper Rhine region, such as asparagus, strawberries or walnuts, as well as of the nutrient supply of the population on the Upper Rhine have already been obtained. Moreover, the scientists investigated the mechanisms which play a role in the development of chronic diseases like cancer or diabetes. They studied the disease-preventive effect of nutrients from regional products.

The results of the project will be presented by the scientists on Thursday, May 24, in the symposium “Regional Food for Health” at the Maison de la Région in Strasbourg. The free symposium will be addressed to scientists, actors in the health and nutrition sectors, food industry, economy as well as consumers.
Information about the program is available at Kindly register in advance for participation. aims at networking teaching activities in the fields of nutrition sciences and food technology. The establishment of a bilingual course of studies at KIT and the University of Strasbourg is an important part of the project. First courses for students of chemical engineering, bioengineering, industrial engineering, and food chemistry started in the past winter semester. The students from KIT and the University of Strasbourg attend joint excursions and bilingual block courses in food process engineering in Strasbourg and at the KIT. The project is co-financed by the Interreg IV framework program of the EU.

In 2011, the European Confederation of Upper Rhine Universities (EUCOR) awarded the EUCOR label to the course of studies that is planned to be extended in the future. Founded in 1989, EUCOR is a German, French, and Swiss meta-network. The goals of EUCOR are to promote cooperation of the member universities in research and teaching, administration, culture, and sports and to support the mobility of the students.

Additional information about the project can be found at


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

sk, 08.05.2012

Margarete Lehné
Chief Press Officer (acting)
Phone: +49 721 608-41105
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presse does-not-exist.kit edu

Contact for this press release:

Saskia Kutscheidt
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Phone: +49 721 608-48120
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
saskia kutscheidt does-not-exist.kit edu

The press release is available as a PDF file.