A strain of probiotic bacteria that can fight harmful bacterial infections in poultry has the ability to change its coat, according to new findings from the Institute of Food Research. The probiotic is currently being taken forward through farm-scale trials to evaluate how well it combats Clostridium perfringens – a cause of necrotic enteritis in poultry and the second most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. The researchers at IFR, which is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, had previously found that the probiotic Lactobacillus johnsonsii, when given to young chicks, prevents the colonisation of C. perfringens. Now, in research published in the journal PLOS ONE, they have found that the probiotic bacteria have the ability to alter their coat. They speculate that this could be one way in which the probiotic outcompete C. perfringens. The researchers noticed when examining the bacteria that a small number of them appear smooth. They identified genes responsible for making a special coat, or slime capsule, which the bacteria surround themselves in. This protects the bacteria from stomach acids and bile salts, and helps them come together to form biofilms. It may also protect against drying out when outside the host. The natural appearance of smooth mutants could be a ploy used by the bacteria to introduce variation into its populations, making them able to take advantage of different environments. By turning off one or more of the coat genes, they could see what effect this had on its ability to stick to gut tissues. "The next step is to understand the regulation of the genes involved in making the coat" said Dr Arjan Narbad, who led the studies. "We want to find out whether changing the coat affects the probiotic's fitness to colonise and inhabit the gut." This in turn could prevent C. perfringens from colonising the gut. This competitive exclusion could be one reason why the probiotic strain prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria. Understanding the role of the slime capsule coat will inform the commercial development of this strain as a preventative treatment for C. perfringens infection in poultry, especially in regard to how the probiotic is stored and produced. Through the technology transfer company Plant Bioscience Ltd, the strain has been patented and is now in large-scale farm trials to assess its efficacy. As these bacteria have previously been used in the food chain and are considered safe for human consumption, this probiotic strain could become new way of controlling C. perfringens. As there is a growing pressure to reduce the use of antibiotics in farming, new products are needed to maintain animal welfare standards, reduce the huge costs of necrosis in poultry and help keep our food safe.
This is a SEM image of Lactobacillus johnsonii (smooth mutant)
OPTIMAL FOOD STRUCTURING FOR ENHANCED SATIETY
Satiation by a food can be increased by specific structuring that leads to sedimentation of an energy-dense layer in the stomach. This is the outcome of a study by scientists from NIZO food research and IFR within the Top Institute of Food and Nutrition. This effect can be used to help consumers to reduce their caloric intake.
Stomach volume and the rate at which the stomach releases nutrients to the small intestine for absorption are important physiological parameters by which the body estimates the time to stop eating. Foods behave differently in the stomach, depending on their structure. If a food in the stomach separates into an energy-poor upper layer and a viscous energy-dense sediment, the energy-dense part is delivered to the small intestine first, keeping the energy-poor liquid layer stacked on top. The volume of the stomach then stays larger for a longer time while at the same time the small intestine signals an influx of high-energy food. In a publication in Food Hydrocolloids, NIZO scientist George van Aken anticipated that this situation, which resembles the situation of the stomach being filled homogeneously with a large volume of energy-dense food, would stimulate satiation.
Now, in their recent study, (published in American Journal of Physiology), van Aken of NIZO and Alan Mackie of IFR tested this prediction by comparing two food systems with closely similar nutrient compositions and caloric content (67% from fat, 27% from protein and 6% from carbohydrates): one that sediments in the stomach and one that remains homogeneous. The foods were made with common ingredients and tested in human volunteers.
The test confirmed the predicted effect on satiation: significant effects towards increased satiation from the sedimenting food system were found from scorings for fullness, hunger, satisfaction and desire to eat. MRI imaging moreover confirmed the expected difference in the volume and distribution of the food in the stomach, and the related release and detection of nutrients in the small intestine was confirmed by blood serum levels of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK).
According to van Aken, this approach can be applied to a wide range of foodstuffs: “By structuring foods in such a way that an early formation of a viscous sediment of the energy-rich part is promoted, initial stomach emptying is slowed down, satiation is enhanced and food intake can be better controlled. We have many technologies in place to reformulate foods to target this effect and it works with common ingredients.”
GINGER COMPOUNDS MAY BE EFFECTIVE IN TREATING ASTHMA SYMPTOMS
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savoury dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the spicy root also may have properties that help asthma patients breathe more easily.
The results of the study will be presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference.
Asthma is characterized by bronchoconstriction, a tightening of the bronchial tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs. Bronchodilating medications called beta-agonists (β-agonists) are among the most common types of asthma medications and work by relaxing the airway smooth muscle (ASM) tissues. This study looked at whether specific components of ginger could help enhance the relaxing effects of bronchodilators.
"Asthma has become more prevalent in recent years, but despite an improved understanding of what causes asthma and how it develops, during the past 40 years few new treatment agents have been approved for targeting asthma symptoms," said lead author Elizabeth Townsend, PhD, post-doctoral research fellow in the Columbia University Department of Anesthesiology. "In our study, we demonstrated that purified components of ginger can work synergistically with β-agonists to relax ASM."
To conduct their study, the researchers took human ASM tissue samples and caused the samples to contract by exposing them to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitting compound that causes bronchoconstriction. Next, the researchers mixed the β-agonist isoproterenol with three separate components of ginger: 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol or 6-shogaol. Contracted tissue samples were exposed to each of these three mixtures as well as unadulterated isoproterenol and the relaxation responses were recorded and compared.
At the conclusion of their study, the researchers found that tissues treated with the combination of purified ginger components and isoproterenol exhibited significantly greater relaxation than those treated only with isoproterenol; of the three ginger components, 6-shogaol appeared most effective in increasing the relaxing effects of the β-agonist.
Once they were able to demonstrate that the ginger components enhanced the relaxing effects of the β-agonist, they turned their attention to learning why. First, the researchers wanted to determine if the ginger components might work by affecting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase4D (PDE4D). Previous studies have shown that PDE4D, which is found in the lungs, inhibits processes that otherwise help relax ASM and lessen inflammation. Using a technique called fluorescent polarization, they found that all three components significantly inhibited PDE4D.
Next, the study looked at F-actin filaments, a protein structure which previous studies have shown plays a role in the constriction of ASM, and found that 6-shogaol was effective in speedily dissolving these filaments.
"Taken together, these data show that ginger constituents 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol and 6-shogaol act synergistically with the β-agonist in relaxing ASM, indicating that these compounds may provide additional relief of asthma symptoms when used in combination with β-agonists," Dr. Townsend noted. "By understanding the mechanisms by which these ginger compounds affect the airway, we can explore the use of these therapeutics in alleviating asthma symptoms."
Dr. Townsend and her colleague, Dr. Charles Emala, hope future studies will enable them to gain a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms that facilitate ASM relaxation and to determine whether aerosol delivery of these purified constituents of ginger may have therapeutic benefit in asthma and other bronchoconstrictive diseases.
American Thoracic Society
EXTRACTING SCIENCE FROM GRAPES, CURCUMIN AND BILBERRY
Indena, company dedicated to the identification, development and production of active principles derived from plants, for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and personal care industries, according to its tradition has carried out further studies on its products: Enovita®, Meriva® and Mirtoselect®.
FLORAGLO LUTEIN AND OPTISHARP ZEAXANTHIN
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) has presented at the Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash., May 5-9, 2013, the results from AREDS2 (Age-related eye disease study 2). Will Black, Vice-President, Marketing, DSM Human Health & Nutrition refers: “FloraGLO Lutein and OPTISHARP Zeaxanthin were shown to significantly reduce progression to advanced AMD when compared with no lutein or zeaxanthin […] This effect is amplified in participants with poor intake levels. Further research is required to clearly understand this beneficial effect, but it continues to be an area of great interest when you consider the typically low dietary intake of these nutrients in the US population”.
SODA-LO® SALT MICROSPHERES
Tate & Lyle has announced that on 7 May 2013 a patent was granted in the US covering the SODA-LO® Salt Microspheres commercial product and the process to make it. The company explains that SODA-LO® is a ground breaking, new salt reduction ingredient that tastes, labels and functions like salt because it is salt. With SODA-LO®, food manufacturers can reduce salt levels by 25 to 50 percent in various applications without sacrificing taste. The newly patented technology turns standard salt crystals into free-flowing crystalline microspheres. These smaller, lower-density crystals efficiently deliver salty taste by maximizing surface area relative to volume. SODA-LO® Salt Microspheres makes it possible to enjoy clean salt taste while consuming lower levels of sodium.
BRANDED HEALTH INGREDIENTS
Lonza recently presented its portfolio of branded health ingredients. Carnipure™ is high quality L-carnitine, a nutrient essential for energy metabolism. Extensive research shows that Carnipure™ can play a beneficial role in many areas of health. Moreover the company adds that DHAid™ is a purely vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA. Health benefits of DHAid™ include the support of brain development and function as well as heart and eye health. ResistAid™ is a natural immune ingredient derived from North American larch trees. Latest research found that daily supplementation with ResistAid™ can reduce the number of cold episodes by 23 percent. Lonza refers that the Memree™ brand covers a line of products that contain high quality, soy-based phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine is an important structural component of cell membranes and is found in concentrated amounts in brain cells. Products in the Memree™ line include MemreePS™ for cognitive health and MemreePlus™ for cognitive health, stress reduction and exercise recovery applications.
BASF & PETRONAS
BASF and PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) intend to invest USD 500 million in an integrated aroma ingredients project at their existing joint venture site BASF PETRONAS Chemicals in Gebeng, Kuantan. The companies explain that with this investment, the partners will help meet the globally growing demands of customers in the flavour and fragrance industry, especially in Asia Pacific. Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, responsible for Asia Pacific refers: “This investment is built on the solid, long-term relationship with our strategic partner PCG. Since the establishment of our joint venture, BASF and PCG have successfully served the needs of the region with high-quality and innovative products”.
COCOA HORIZONS TRUCK
Barry Callebaut has unveiled a unique addition to its Cocoa Horizons sustainability initiative - the Cocoa Horizons Truck: a multi-purpose mobile unit powered by solar energy, which provides space for farmer training sessions in good agricultural practices, basic health care services, literacy training and child labour sensitization programs. The Cocoa Horizons Truck, built in Belgium, will now be shipped to Côte d'Ivoire where it will travel through the cocoa growing regions as of July. The Cocoa Horizons Truck is a pilot project and part of Barry Callebaut's plan to significantly step up the impact of its Quality Partner Program (QPP), a cocoa farming program which is an integral part of the company's 10-year Cocoa Horizons sustainability initiative.
NATURAL MG LEMON BALM INSIDE CO
Activ’Inside has presented a new botanical reference, the only natural lemon balm extract titrated in magnesium with EFSA claim and Ecocert certification. Natural Mg Lemon Balm Inside Co provides full tools for an optimized communication to final consumers: naturalness, tradition, history of uses, safety and scientific credibility. Activ’Inside proposes an innovative way to differentiate on the market. Natural Mg Lemon Balm Inside Co is a patented traditional dry extract of organic Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) with a guaranteed content of natural magnesium. Associating a natural and traditional active ingredient implicated in stress and sleep disorders, a natural source of magnesium having approval EFSA claims, and an organic certification issued by ECOCERT France, Natural Mg Lemon Balm Inside Co is the only 100 percent natural extract with specific communication tools on well-being market.
GELITA TRAIL MARATHON IN HEIDELBERG
Runners from all over the world are bolstering their muscles and strengthening their joints in preparation for the first GELITA Trail Marathon in Heidelberg, scheduled to take place on October 27, 2013 – a demanding hilly course for the best of athletes. GELITA is sponsoring the marathon with its innovative collagen proteins. GELITA will be contributing to preparing the athletes for the race – with PEPTIPLUS® and FORTIGEL®. Activating PEPTIPLUS® gives the runner indispensable natural protein power to help boost stamina during the energy-sapping race. Moreover FORTIGEL® helps to regenerate cartilage.
SYMRISE: INTEGRATED REPORTING
Symrise has decided to stop publishing separate annual and sustainability reports and is moving in the direction of integrated reporting. The company’s goals and strategy already are multidimensional – with regard to the economy, environment, employees and society. The integration of the reports now reflects the increasing crossover of topics in day-to-day business.