Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl


Bioactives are naturally occurring compounds in plants and animal products which are known to have a variety of physiological functions for promoting general development and disease prevention. Bioactive molecules can play important roles in human growth and development, and reduce the risks of disease. Bioactives typically occur at very low concentrations.

Bioactives include plant sterols, lipids from nuts, seeds and vegetables, which can lower cholesterol, polyphenolic components found in tea, fruit and other plant foods,  specific short or branched chain fatty acids in milk and peptides from meat and milk . However, some bioactive food components can be rendered inactive by reactions with oxygen or other food components under certain processing conditions.

For these ‘active’ components to be effective for health-promoting benefits, they require delivery systems which protect them until they reach the area within the digestive system where they will be most beneficial. Others reveal their biological activity upon digestion or affect the microflora composition of the gut.

Research on bioactives is focused on:

  • Estimating and manipulating the levels of bioactivies in various foods
  • Preservation or activation of bioactives in food during processing, storage and preparation
  • Impact of bioactives on human health and wellbeing



Researchers focused on bioactives