"White Mouse in Water" - Infinitus Develops New Technology of Using Zebrafish for Health Products Screening

GUANGZHOU, China, July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently, the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) brought together experts in Beijing to evaluate the results of a collaborative R&D effort between Infinitus (China) Company Ltd. and Hangzhou Hunter Biotechnology Co., Ltd., named the Application of Zebrafish Efficacy and Safety Rapid Evaluation System in Health Food.

Growth cycle diagram of zebrafish
Growth cycle diagram of zebrafish

As part of the effort, the zebrafih were fed with fluorescent dye and photographed under a fluorescence microscope to establish a quantitative analysis method for examining and measuring the ability of health products to nourish the intestine and relieve constipation.

Attendees to the meeting agreed that this zebrafish-based efficacy and safety rapid evaluation system is an effective supplement to the existing efficacy and safety evaluation methods of mammal models, effectively improving the quality control of the ingredients that are used to produce health food and promoting the development of health products industry.

The innovative application of the zebrafish analysis model in the field of health food

"For producers, what we are providing is a system comprising rapid and effective methods for determining which ingredients work and which do not," said Liu Fengsong, quality assurance director at Infinitus (China) Company Ltd., during the meeting at which he delivered a technical report and explained the reasons for establishing the biological evaluation model for health products.

"Using the zebrafish safety assessment methods, we established a zebrafish safety assessment database containing 112 food ingredients and safety data for 44 products, as well as technical methods for formula screening, product optimization and quality control," said Liu.

Zebrafish are highly similar to mammals in physiology, development and metabolism, and share an 87% homology with human genes. About 2,000 human diseases, including cancer, can occur in zebrafish. As the technology can reliably simulate and predict human physiological and pathological processes, it has been widely used in the field of drug safety evaluation. The approach has been regarded as highly innovative in the field of health food in China.

At the meeting to evaluate the effort, Sun Baoguo, Academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and President of Beijing Technology and Business University, said the team has done groundbreaking work. For the first time in China, the zebrafish model was applied to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of health food and select ingredients, while, at the same time, corresponding group standards were established.

Two group standards, Zebrafish-Based Detection Method for Bowel Movement Function of Health Food and Zebrafish-Based Detection Method for Antioxidant Function of Health Food, jointly drafted by 11 bio-health products companies including Infinitus and Hunter Biotechnology, will be formally implemented on August 1, 2020, providing a brand new and supplementary testing method for product formula development, ingredient screening and functional verification of health food already on the market, and filling the gap in the field of research around health food-related testing technologies in China.

Zebrafish-based technology intuitively demonstrates product efficacy and safety in test

Compared with laboratory mice, zebrafish have the advantages of good observation conditions, low test cost and short breeding cycle.

Taking the bowel movement test as an example, traditional mouse-based experiments take a long time, and the results are greatly affected by subjective factors, while the zebrafish-based experiment can very intuitively evaluate the effect of the tested object on food excretion in zebrafish intestines.

The experimental method based on zebrafish is more intuitive, and, as a result, it only took about one week to complete the process containing the establishment of the evaluation model, the sample treatment and the test results collection. In other animal models, the process takes at least a few months.

As early as 2003, National Institutes of Health (NIH) in US listed zebrafish as important experimental creatures, after rats and mice. In 2009, the National Toxicology Research Center (NCTR) in Arkansas opened a zebrafish laboratory, which began using zebrafish embryos and juveniles to study the effects of drugs and chemicals on organs and systems.

Continuous adoption of modern technologies to ensure product safety

Because fish embryos are very sensitive to acute, chronic and other harmful toxins, fish embryo-based biological testing technologies can more quickly and comprehensively determine the overall safety of food ingredients and products. As one of the representative players in the health industry, Infinitus has also begun to explore the application of fish embryo-based biological test technology for health food over recent years.

In 2018, Infinitus established a cooperation biosafety evaluation platform based on fish embryo with Vitargent (International) Biotechnology Limited, a biotechnology firm located in Hong Kong, and applied the fish embryo-based biotoxicity test technology to the screening of the ingredients that go into health food and cosmetics as well as to product toxicity examination, process control and safety solution research.

Infinitus is now collaborating with Hunter Biotechnology, a leading zebrafish biotechnology solution provider, to launch the project of the Application of Zebrafish Efficacy and Safety Rapid Evaluation System in Health Food, which marks a further exploration by Infinitus into product safety through biological testing.

In recent years, Infinitus has continued to expand and improve food safety research technologies. At the end of 2018, Infinitus filed an application for a research project entitled Basic Research on Risk Assessment and Functional Evaluation of Health Food (2018YFC1602100) jointly with several like-minded organizations. As part of the project, Infinitus undertook the key research and development tasks for the research into internal and external harmful substances in health food including identification, early warning, reduction and elimination of risk substances in the production process. It was approved by the project of Research and Development of Key Technology of Food Safety in 2018, which is one of the National Key Research and Development Program of China.

In order to ensure product safety from the source, Infinitus has, for many years, steadfastly adhered to the quality philosophy of "100-1=0", signifying "zero defect in quality control, zero tolerance to product safety, zero distance to quality service". The firm leverages modern technologies, ranging from the selection of quality materials to a number of demanding standards around safety testing in the production process, to ensure product quality and safety.

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Source: Infinitus (China) Company Ltd.