Biomarkers are an efficient means to examine intakes or exposures and their biological effects and to assess system susceptibility. Aided by novel profiling technologies, the biomarker research field is undergoing rapid development and new putative biomarkers are continuously emerging in the scientific literature. However, the existing concepts for classification of biomarkers in the dietary and health area may be ambiguous, leading to uncertainty about their application. In order to better understand the potential of biomarkers and to communicate their use and application, it is imperative to have a solid scheme for biomarker classification that will provide a well-defined ontology for the field. In this manuscript, we provide an improved scheme for biomarker classification based on their intended use rather than the technology or outcomes (six subclasses are suggested: food compound intake biomarkers (FCIBs), food or food component intake biomarkers (FIBs), dietary pattern biomarkers (DPBs), food compound status biomarkers (FCSBs), effect biomarkers, physiological or health state biomarkers). The application of this scheme is described in detail for the dietary and health area and is compared with previous biomarker classification for this field of research.
Keywords: Biomarker; Classification; Effect; Exposure; Metabolomics; Nutrition; Ontology; Review; Susceptibility.