Current Nutrition & Food Science (v.8, #2)

The nutritional constituent and fatty acid profiles of six different tropical fruit residues were determined in this experiment. Proximate analysis including protein, moisture, carbohydrate, crude & dietary fiber, and ash was carried out by using standard methods. Mineral analysis was determined by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and the fatty acids were identified by GC/MSD. It was found that all residues contained considerable amount of protein ranging between 1.05 % (C. carandas) and 11.25 % (B. vulgaris). Carbohydrate content was found to be the highest in L. sinensis seed (67.3 %). Results of the mineral analysis showed that all residues were rich in Ca, K, Mg, Na and P content. The dietary fiber was found to be different for each residue, which ranged from 1.6 % (L. sinensis) to 39.10 % (A. comosus). GC/MSD analysis showed that the values of saturated fatty acids were less than the values of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Among the identified fatty acids, linoleic acid (C18:2) was predominated followed by oleic acid (C18:1) and palmitic acid (C16:0). The study demonstrates that all these residues possessed a significant amount of protein, carbohydrate, minerals, dietary fiber and fatty acids and have a potential to be used as functional agents in food formulation.

Cocoa butter replacer (CBR) was produced by the chemical and enzymatic interesterification of the hydrogenated and solid fraction of tea seed oil, at weight percent ratios of 20:80, 25:75 and 30:70. At the ratio of 30:70 (hydrogenated tea seed oil: solid fraction) in both the methods of interesterification, the major fatty acids were palmitic, stearic and oleic acids (17.58, 16.89 and 44.63 %; 17.58, 16.89 and 44.56 %, respectively). Also in this ratio the melting points (m.p.) of samples produced by two methods were 30.03 ºC and 32.23 ºC, respectively. As a comparison, the ratio of 30:70 showed proximate resemblance to those of cocoa butter (25.76, 34.88 and 33.68 %; 31.43 ºC, respectively) than other ratios. The triacylglycerol species (TAGS) play a key role in producing sharp melting point of cocoa butter (one of the most important quality factors in chocolate). As results showed, the enzymatic interesterification produces the sample with the TAGS closer to those of cocoa butter (PLP, OOO, PLS, POP, SOO, POS, SOS). Therefore, it is a suitable method compared with the randomized chemical interesterification.

The aim of this work was to evaluate the quality of pita bread fortified with different levels of flaxseed cake flour (FCF) as an under-utilized functional ingredient. FCS was then used as a partial substitute for wheat flour 82% extraction at 5, 10, 15 and 20% substitution levels. The chemical composition of flours, the rheological characteristics of doughs and the quality of the produced bread were investigated. Substitution of FCF for wheat flour increased the protein, fat, fibers, ash and mineral contents and remarkably improved the protein quality of the composite flours. It had also decreased the moisture loss and increased the alkaline water retention capacity (AWRC) of bread as freshness indicators and improved its textural characteristics without significant effects on the physical and sensorial properties until 15% substitution level. The results of the present study in addition to the eminent nutritional and functional roles of flaxseed cake strongly advocate its incorporation into the formula of pita bread and similar bakery products for nutritious, healthy and functional foods.

More and more functional foods or nutraceuticals have proved to be important allies both to health promotion and disease treatment. For these reasons many research has been going on aimed at identifying functional components in foods and relate them with positive physiological effects. Although there is a distinction between what is a functional food and a nutraceutical, the truth is that these two concepts are much related. In fact, both nutraceuticals and functional foods are foods, or dietary components, that provide some health benefit beyond basic nutrition. However, while functional foods aim at providing some health benefit in general, the nutraceuticals go further beyond, and include aspects such as the effective prevention or treatment of disease. Recent research continues to support many findings that seem to validate the benefits of foods or food components to the promotion of health. It has been widely stated that people who consume a wide variety of foods containing some bioactive molecules like carotenoids, fibers, flavonoids, fatty acids, phytoestrogens, vitamins and minerals, among others, show a reduced risk of developing some diseases and tend to have a better health. As an example, the use of antioxidants provides protection against harmful free radicals, usually associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and age-related functional decline. Also the ingestion of dietary fibres has been related to improvement in gastrointestinal functions, as well as a reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer. The present work gives a general overview of functional foods, pointing out examples of some foods with a recognized functional ability, as well as leaving some clues about new developments in this field.

Oxidative stress caused by oxygen radicals damages cellular DNA, proteins and lipids and is widely recognized as one of the causes of the development of chronic disease. There is substantial evidence that antioxidant food components have a protective role against oxidative stress-induced atherosclerosis, degenerative and age-related diseases, cancer and aging. The study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the prevention of cell damage mediated by antioxidant compounds could help to prevent appearance and development of oxidative stress related diseases. The present overview describes a model of oxidative stress in cultured cells suitable to test the signal transduction pathways involved in the chemo-preventive effect of dietary compounds. Human HepG2, a well differentiated transformed cell line from hepatic origin, is a reliable model for human hepatocytes widely used for biochemical and nutritional studies. The products selected for this overview are representative of different foodstuffs widely included in the human diet: cocoa flavonoids and olive oil hydroxytyrosol. The results confirm the reliability of the model and give more insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the biological activity of the tested compounds.

In this study, we focused on estimating Austrian consumer preferences or willingness to pay for organic products using stated preference methods: choice experiment and contingent valuation. Austria is a pioneer country in organic farming, and has an advanced market for organic food products in Europe. Therefore, it is meaningful to investigate their consumer preferences for organic foods. The results of the choice experiment showed that Austrians, in particular females, have a preference and are willingness to pay a price premium for domestically-grown organic vegetables. The results of contingent valuation also showed that they have a preference and are willing to pay for organic food materials in the case of eating out, restaurants or cafe, etc.

Onion (Allium cepa L.) is one of the oldest cultivated plants with tremendous therapeutic properties. They are a rich source of flavonoids, consisting mainly of the major flavonols quercetin-3,4’-O-diglucoside (QDG) and quercetin-4’- O-monoglucoside (QMG). Outer layer which is the transitional layer with the first living cells below the dry onion peel and innermost layers from two different sizes of onion were studied for their total phenolic contents (TPC) and free radical scavenging activities (FRSA). Outer layers had greatest TPC content (ranging in between 84.4 to 97.8 mg GAE/100g fresh weight vs. 48.6 to 52.5 mg GAE/100g fresh weight), and FRSA than the innermost layers. The outermost layers showed better H2O2 scavenging activity and increased reducing power. The results were more pronounced for the layers of smaller onion having lesser moisture content than larger onion. The antioxidant assays were found to be correlated with the phenolic content. Our results demonstrate that the outermost living layers had higher antioxidant activities than the innermost layers indicating higher flavonoid content in outer layers.

Leavening Bread Dough by Vanessa Cukier de Aquino (131-138).
Dough of bread is prepared from mixture of flour wheat, water, salt and yeast. By contacting water and suffering mechanical kneading the flour gets properties, almost exclusively, to produce a cohesive dough and viscoelasticity, containing gluten-forming proteins. The mixing process through which the dough of bread is produced, is essential for its development after fermentation and the final quality of finished bread. Gluten is important to create an extensible framework implied in gas retention during fermentation. The Baker's yeast used in baking is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, whose most important function in bread-making is to leaven the dough during the baking process. Dough expansion results from yeast action in catabolizing glucose to alcohol and carbon dioxide.

New Strategies for Metabolic Support in Cancer by Maurizio Muscaritoli (139-148).
The management of cancer patients is frequently complicated by the occurrence of cachexia, a complex syndrome characterized by marked depletion of body weight, associated with profound alterations of both nutritional status and metabolic homeostasis. Progressive wasting of skeletal muscle mass and adipose tissue is a typical feature of cancer cachexia. This syndrome has a large impact on morbidity and mortality, and significantly affects patients’ quality of life. On this line, understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of cachexia is of crucial importance to define targeted therapeutic strategies. Many studies have addressed the relevance of nutritional interventions in cancer hosts. In particular, it has been shown that malnutrition in cancer patients can be delayed when nutritional supplementation is adopted early in the course of the disease. The preservation of a good nutritional status, in particular when it is achieved concurrently with specific antineoplastic treatment, will prevent or at least delay the onset of overt cachexia, allowing the use of more aggressive therapeutic regimens. This extended and updated version of our previously published article titled “ Nutritional support in cancer” will review the most recent and relevant literature, focusing on those options that have shown more promising for the clinical practice.

The Transthyretin Inflammatory State Conundrum by Larry H. Bernstein (149-153).
Background: Transthyretin has been widely used as a biomarker for identifying protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and for monitoring the improvement of nutritional status after implementing a nutritional intervention by enteral feeding or by parenteral infusion. This has occurred because transthyretin (TTR) has a rapid removal from the circulation and it is readily measured. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised about the use of TTR in the ICU setting, which prompts a review of the actual benefit of using this testing in a number of settings. TTR is easily followed in the underweight and the high risk populations in an ambulatory setting, which has a significant background risk of chronic diseases. It is sensitive to the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and needs to be understood in the context of acute illness to be used effectively. There are a number of physiologic changes associated with SIRS and the injury/repair process that will affect TTR and will be put in the context of this review. In the context of an ICU setting, the contribution of TTR is significant. Despite the complexity of the situation, TTR is not to be considered a test “for all seasons”. In the context of age, prolonged poor meal intake, chronic or acute illness, TTR needs to be viewed in a multivariable lens, along with estimated lean body mass, C-reactive protein, the absolute lymphocyte count, presence of neutrophilia, and perhaps procalcitonin if there is remaining uncertainty. Furthermore, the reduction of risk of associated complication requires a systematized approach to timely identification, communication, and implementation of a suitable treatment plan.