I have been working within the Food Databanks team for many years, my main role is the management of two web-based databases: eBASIS (Bioactive Substances in Food Plants Information System) and ePlantLIBRA. These databases contain quality evaluated compositional and biological activity data for bioactives in major European plant based foods and Plant Food Supplements. The databases are accessed by researchers in academia and industry in the UK, Europe and globally.
My role as database manager encompasses work that allows the databases to be innovated, developed and extended in order to respond to continuing and growing interest in the use of bioactive data by a wide range of users. I have recently been working with Creme Global (Ireland) on a tool, linking eBASIS composition data with national consumption surveys which allows exposure assessments of bioactive compounds to be estimated and modelled in human populations.
I have a long history in working in areas of food and nutrition at the Institute, starting as an analytical chemistry, going via the consumer sciences department where I worked on using smart card technology to monitor the eating habits, and nutritional significance, of children in their school meal choices. Finishing up in Food Databanks, working on areas linked to the composition of foods.
My role in Food Databanks is not solely in the area of bioactive compounds, I also work with nutrient composition. I was part of the team creating McCance and Widdowson’s composition of foods integrated dataset (CoFID) covering the nutrient content of the UK food supply. CoFID lists analytical nutrient data for 2,898 foods.
The Group’s experience in the composition of foods has led me to be part of the team developing a new commercial offering for small food producers – Nutritional Information Solutions (NIS). We provide mandatory nutritional information for their products calculated from recipes, a cheaper alternative to traditional laboratory analysis.
Another role I have in Food Databanks is training; I have supervised several Erasmus students and trained new expert evaluators around the world used for eBASIS data entry. Recently I have been travelling the country carrying out a Food labelling course for Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers. Additionally I frequently present the bioactive databases to potential users, including national regulators and industry representatives.
Communication of outcomes of science via social media is becoming very important and I have responsibly in preparing blogs, tweets and facebook posts on the subjects of food composition, diet, nutrition and health. I regularly participate in public engagement activities, locally and nationally, such as at the Big Bang Fair; I love the buzz of science communication.
J Plumb, S Pigat, F Bompola, MCushen, H Pinchen, E Nørby, S Astley, J Lyons, M Kiely and P Finglas (2017) eBASIS (Bioactive Substances in Food Information Systems) and Bioactive Intakes: Major Updates of the Bioactive Compound Composition and Beneficial Bioeffects Database and the Development of a Probabilistic Model to Assess Intakes in Europe Nutrients 2017, 9(4), 320;
Plumb J, Lyons J, Nørby K, Thomas M, Nørby E, Poms R, Bucchini L, Restani P, Kiely M, Finglas P. (2016) ePlantLIBRA: A composition and biological activity database for bioactive compounds in plant food supplements. Food Chemistry. 193, 121-1277.
Plumb J. A., Rhodes M. J. C., Lampi A. M., Buchgraber M., Kroon P. A.(2011) Phytosterols in plant foods: exploring contents, data distribution and aggregated values using an online bioactives database. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 24 1024-1031
Kiely M., Black L., Plumb J. A., Kroon P. A., Hollman P. C., Larsen J. C., Speijers G. J., Kapsokefalou M., Sheehan D., Gry J., Finglas P. M. F.(2010) Eurofir eBASIS (Bioactive Substances in Food Information System):application for health claims submissions and evaluations European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64 S101-107
Lambert N., Plumb J., Looise B., Johnson I. T., Harvey I., Wheeler C., Robinson M., Rolfe P.(2005) Using smart card technology to monitor the eating habits of children in a school cafeteria: 2. The nutrient contents of all meals chosen by a group of 8- to 11-year-old boys over 78 days Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 18 255-265