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Food composition databases (FCDBs) are important tools that provide information on the nutritional content of foods. Previously, it was largely unclear what nutritional contents and which FCDBs were involved in highly cited papers. The bibliometric study aimed to identify the most productive authors, institutions, and journals. The chemicals/chemical compounds with high averaged citations and FCDBs used by highly cited papers were identified. In July 2023, the online database Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC) was queried to identify papers related to FCDBs. A total of 803 papers were identified and analyzed. The first paper indexed in WoSCC was published in 1992 by Pennington, which described the usefulness of FCDB for researchers to identify core foods for their own studies. In that paper, the FCDB described was the USDA 1987-88 NFCS (the United States Department of Agriculture 1987-88 Nationwide Food Consumption Survey). The most productive author was Dr. Paul M. Finglas, the Head of the Food Databanks National Capability at the Quadram Institute (Norwich, UK) and the Managing Director of EuroFIR. His most cited paper among this dataset was about the development of an online Irish food composition database together with EuroFIR. The most productive institutions were the USDA and the World Health Organization (WHO) instead of universities. Flavonoid was the most recurring chemical class among the highly cited ones. The anti-oxidative properties and protective effects against heart disease and cancer of flavonoids might be some of the reasons for their popularity in research. Among the highly cited papers, the most heavily used FCDBs were the USDA database for the flavonoid content of selected foods, Fineli, the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (USNDB), EuroFIR eBASIS-Bioactive Substances in Food Information Systems, and Phenol-Explorer. High-quality national and international FCDBs should be promoted and made more accessible to the research and public communities to promote better nutrition and public health on a global scale.


Andy Wai Kan Yeung. Food Composition Databases (FCDBs): A Bibliometric Analysis. Nutrients. 2023 Aug 11;15(16)

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PMID: 37630742

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