We have been working on the Bioactive Substances in Food Information System bioactives in foods database (eBASIS) since its inception in 2006. eBASIS is a web-based database that contains validated scientific information on the composition of bioactive substances in plant foods.


Current work

Improvements in the availability of open access aggregated bioactive composition data is needed within the scientific community for estimation of bioactive consumption in the diet. Due to this, we have begun the process of creating a new bioactives in food composition database, building on the core data within eBASIS to produce a new interface and systems to produce aggregated composition data. This will be connected to our nutrient data, which will allow, for the first time, dietary intake assessment of bioactives to be estimated alongside nutrients.

Definition of a bioactives

Bioactive, or phytochemicals, can be defined as any non-nutirent in food that could exert a beneficial or toxic effect when ingested. To date, 5000 different bioactives have been identified, but our knowledge is limited to several hundred. Observational and clinical studies in recent years propose that the presence of bioactive compounds can explain the epidemiological evidence for potential health benefits associated with increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, with studies suggesting that increased consumption reduces the risk of many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, degenerative eye diseases and osteoporosis.

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DATABASE coming soon

The new food database includes the composition of 794 bioactive compounds in 267 foods from over 1110 peer-reviewed publications alongside data from 567 publications covering beneficial bioeffects studies carried out in human randomized controlled trials.

More than 40,000 records have been added in both compositional and bioeffects sections, increasing the database’s value for researchers in bioactive composition and biological effects.

The new food bioactives website allows the user to search the plant food of interest and the bioactive/compound of interest. The search output is a report containing the top 5 plants. A new page can be opened showing the amount of bioactives present in all the foods that contain that particular bioactive with a link to the reference paper on where the values were obtained.


eBASIS, (Bioactive Substances in Food Information System) (https://ebasis.eurofir.org), is a comprehensive database containing quality-evaluated scientific data, covering the composition of bioactive compounds present in foods.

NETTOX plant list

The NETTOX plant list can continuously be used as important guidance for regulatory authorities at European and national levels, e.g. EU DG SANCO and national authorities in the Member States, in relation to novel food regulation.

Food & Nutrition-NBRI can provide a pdf copy of the NETTOX plant list on request via email fnnbri@quadram.ac.uk 

The original NETTOX plant list was produced in 1998 and updated to the EuroFIR- NETTOX plant list in 2007.

The list is in 16 languages and comprises the 307 major food plants and edible mushrooms used for consumption in Europe, worked out by the European food experts from scientific institutes and food industry (originally financed by EU DG XII, now DG research).