Approach

The Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) is a multi-sectoral collaborative effort informed by the scientific, academic, health, agricultural, food, and entrepreneurial sectors.

The PTFI is a complex, multi-sectoral, global effort. It includes the following components, which overlap and inform each other:

We will begin by developing an initial list of compounds found in the first 1,000 foods selected (see here for the current approach to selecting the first 1000 foods), by conducting an untargeted analysis of a sub-set of representative foods. This inventory will inform the prioritization of the development of kits and methods in an integrated technical platform.

The Periodic Table of Food will create a technical platform comprised of kits, methods, and data processing services to enable a network of public and private laboratories to analyze 1,000 foods around the globe by food composition category to populate the Periodic Table of Food. To develop this technical platform, the PTFI will work with reagent manufacturing, mass spectrometry, and data processing companies. 

Food analyses will be informed by a common approach to sample acquisition, stabilization, distribution, and long-term archiving and curation for the network of labs populating the PTF. The PTFI will develop a biobanking strategy in consultation with leaders at biobanks and repositories around the world to inform this work.

A global network of public and private research institutions and labs will utilize the technical platform to analyze the first 1,000 foods for the PTF by food composition category. Based on capabilities and availability, different labs may annotate different aspects of each food. Ultimately, we seek to democratize the analysis of food and innovation by making this technical platform available to any public or private research institution and/or lab.

The cloud-computing platform will use the same analytics on the data generated by the network of labs so that the outputs are – by default – comparable and can be integrated into the PTF. This service will be available in the technical platform to public and private research institutions and laboratories.

The data generated by the network of labs will be assembled into the PTF database, a public database as per terms of license agreements. The PTFI is currently looking for an institutional home to house and maintain the public database. For more information, see here. 

Revealing the content of food has the potential to transform our health, agriculture, and the environment. The PTFI will issue RFPs for demonstration projects that can answer global questions around food, nutrition, and health utilizing the technical platform and PTF dataThe selected projects will be relevant to a diversity of people and audiences with scalable results and impacts.

The PTFI will develop short case studies which will serve as communicational tools to raise awareness on the importance and revolutionary nature of the PTFI. We aim to produce several case studies covering public health, environmental conservation and restoration, agricultural efficiency and innovation, and food innovation and engineering in partnership with interested experts and institutions. 

The PTFI will also manage and coordinate engagement with private sector partners and social entrepreneurs interested in developing goods and services based on the data gleaned from the PTF.

The PTFI will create a Funders Consortium Board with interested philanthropic partners to set strategy, identify priority issues for investment, and to create public goods using the PTF. The Funders Consortium Board is the core governance body for the PTFI. It will consult different Stakeholder Advisory Councils comprised of civil society organizations, clinicians, funders and investors, governments and policy makers, scientists, and research institutions to inform key decisions, including the selection of demonstration projects.