Concept and objectives

Phenolic compounds are well known health promoting substances exhibiting antioxidant, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antidiabetic activity, protective activity against cardiovascular diseases, etc. The trend of healthy foods has focused the researchers’ attention to the characterization of the phenolic profile of various foods consumed in the everyday diet. Fruits and fruit products including grapes and wine are known to possess beneficial effects on health due to a wide variety of natural polyphenols and consequently a great antioxidant potential. However, there are not much data on the phenolic profile of wines and fruits from Macedonia and Serbia although this region is well known in producing wines and fruits. For that reason, the main accent of this proposal is reinforcing the research capacity in the region for development of methodology for investigation of phenolic compounds, especially flavonoids in wines, juices and fruits (raspberry, plum, strawberry, blackberry, mulberry, etc.) which are characteristic for this region. Additionally, there is a need to continue the work on the chemical characterization of the very popular herbal teas with respect to their phenolic components especially some cultivated representatives of these species, which should be studied for comparison with the wild growing populations.
So, equipment and methodology for studying secondary plant metabolites present in plant material, fruits and products (juices, wines) is needed for the chemical characterization of the phenolic compounds: flavonoids (flavones, flavonols, flavanones, flavanols, anthocyanins), phenolic acids and stilbenes.
Considering these facts, the main objectives of this proposal are:

  • Reinforcement of the research capacities of the laboratories in the Western Balkan Countries: the Chroma­tography Laboratory at FSM-MK, and the Food Control Laboratory at FNS-S, by getting new equipment
  • Improvement of the human potential in the region by employment of young researchers and their training in Member States and in the WBC reinforced laboratories
  • Increasing the international cooperation in the region and with eminent research institutions in the Member states with similar scientific interests and promotion of joint RTD activities of mutual benefit between the EU and the WBC.

The achievement of the following long-term outcomes should follow the realization of the project:

  • Enhanced participation in the 7th Framework Programme and more extensive scientific cooperation in the region.
  • Combating the brain-drain in R. Macedonia and the region, increased job opportunities for young scientists.
  • Awareness about the importance of food quality and capability of the laboratories in the region for its control.