Natural Bioactives and Screening

Group Head: Denis Barron, Ph.D. Contact

The main goal of the Natural Bioactives and Screening group is to improve the rationale of the selection of natural compounds/extract with relevant health benefits for Nestlé. The biochemical, cellular, and tissue assays optimized by the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences constitute the basis of the biological screening activities. The mechanism of action of the positively responding extracts is further investigated by identifying the active individual compounds, or more likely groups of active constituents. Once the structures of interest have been established, the chemical space around these structures is explored by computational chemistry tools and the biological response of the in-silico selected structures is explored again by in-vitro screening. The ultimate goal is to better understand how combinations of natural substances, as it is the case in food, contribute to the measured biological response.

Key Goals

  • Constantly adapt the analytical and screening platforms of the group to the most recent technical and scientific developments.
  • Regularly feed our existing collection of pure natural products, extracts, and fractions of these extracts with new representatives, especially from food sources and resulting from various food processes, potential human metabolites of phytochemicals, endogenous metabolites, and GRAS substances.
  • Provide and validate assays adapted to the screening level.
  • Deliver positively responding natural product and/or natural extract related to our selection of biochemical and cellular screening targets.
  • Translate the discovered bioactives into food products.


Key Publications of the Group

Periat, A.; Guillarme, D.; Veuthey, J.L.; Boccard, J.; Moco, S.; Barron, D.; Grand-Guillaume Perrenoud, A. Optimized selection of liquid chromatography conditions for wide range analysis of natural compounds. J. Chromatogr. A, 1504, 91-104. 2017.

Moco, S.; Barron, D. Bioactive interactions in food and natural extracts. In “Nutrigenomics and Proteomics in Health and Disease: Towards a Systems‐Level Understanding of Gene–Diet Interactions”. Chapter 4, pp. 65-91. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 2017.

Gheldof, N.; Moco, S.; Chabert, C.; Teav, T.; Barron, D, Hager, J. Role of sulfotransferases in resveratrol metabolism in human adipocytes. Mol Nutr Food Res. May 18. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700020. [Epub ahead of print]. 2017.

De Marchi, U.; Hermant, A.; Thevenet, J.; Ratinaud, Y.; Santo-Domingo, J.; Barron, D.; Wiederkehr, A. Novel ATP-synthase independent mechanism coupling mitochondrial activation to exocytosis in insulin-secreting cells. J Cell Sci. Apr 12. pii: jcs.200741. doi: 10.1242/jcs.200741. [Epub ahead of print]. 2017.

Coulerie, P.; Ratinaud, Y.; Moco, S.; Merminod, L.; Naranjo Pinta, M.; Boccard, J.; Bultot, L.; Deak, M.; Sakamoto, K.; Ferreira Queiroz, E.; Wolfender, J.L.; Barron, D. Standardized LC×LC-ELSD Fractionation Procedure for the Identification of Minor Bioactives via the Enzymatic Screening of Natural Extracts. Journal of Natural Products, 79, 2856-2864. 2016.

Grand-Guillaume Perrenoud, A.; Guillarme, D.; Boccard, J.; Veuthey, J.L.; Barron, D.; Moco, S. Ultra-high performance supercritical fluid chromatography coupled with quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry as a performing tool for bioactive analysis. J. Chromatogr. A, 1450, 101-111. 2016.