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The world’s favourite fruit only better-tasting and longer-lasting
Tomatoes, said to be the world’s most popular fruit, can be made both better-tasting and longer-lasting thanks to UK research with purple GM varieties.
“Working with GM tomatoes that are different to normal fruit only by the addition of a specific compound, allows us to pinpoint exactly how to breed in valuable traits,” said Professor Cathie Martin from the John Innes Centre.
The research could also lead to GM varieties with better flavour, health and shelf life characteristics because even higher levels of the compounds can be achieved.
In research to be published in Current Biology, Martin and colleagues studied tomatoes enriched in anthocyanin, a natural pigment that confers high antioxidant capacity. The purple GM tomatoes have already been found to prolong the lives of cancer-prone mice and in the latest findings they also more double the normal shelf life of tomatoes from an average of 21 days to 48 days.
“Post-harvest losses due to rotting are such a serious problem for growers and supermarkets that even an increased shelf life of one day would make an enormous difference to them,” said Yang Zhang, lead author from the John Innes Centre.
One way to improve shelf life is to pick tomatoes early when they are still green and induce them to ripen artificially with ethylene. However, this results in loss of flavour. Another method is to grow varieties that never fully ripen, but these also never develop a full flavour.
In the current study, anthocyanins were found to slow down the over-ripening process that leads to rotting and softening, achieving a tomato with a long shelf life and full flavour. The purple tomatoes were also less susceptible to one of the most important postharvest diseases, grey mould caused by Botrytis cinerea.
Conventional tomatoes can now be screened for their antioxidant capacity. Those found to be highest in antioxidant compounds can be used as parental lines for breeding.
“Our research has identified a new target for breeders to produce tomato varieties that are fuller in flavour, and so more appealing to consumers, and more valuable commercially due to increased shelf life,” said Martin.
The findings could also be applied to other soft fruit such as strawberries and raspberries.
Other varieties of JIC tomatoes high in a variety of compounds such as those found in red wine are being used by Essex company Biodeb to develop a range of skincare products.
“Anthocyanins double the shelf life of tomatoes by delaying over-ripening and reducing susceptibility to grey mould” by Yang Zhang et al.
The research was supported by EU projects FLORA and ATHENA, a Rotation Studentship from the John Innes Foundation to Yang Zang, the core strategic grant to the John Innes Centre from the BBSRC, an EMBO fellowship, the Fundacion Genoma and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education.

Low levels of blood calcium in dairy cows may affect cow health and productivity
Mu researchers suggest dietary calcium supplements for dairy cows after giving birth
The health of dairy cows after giving birth plays a big factor in the quantity and quality of the milk the cows produce. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that subclinical hypocalcemia, which is the condition of having low levels of calcium in the blood and occurs in many cows after giving birth, is related to higher levels of fat in the liver. John Middleton, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says these higher levels of fat are often precursors to future health problems in cows.
“We found that about 50 percent of dairy cows suffered subclinical hypocalcemia and subsequent higher levels of fat in the liver after giving birth to their calves,” Middleton said. “These higher levels of fat in the liver are often tied to health problems in dairy cows, including increased risk for uterus and mammary infections as well as ketosis, which is a condition that results in the cows expending more energy than they are taking in through their diet. All of these conditions can decrease the amount of milk these dairy cows will produce.”
Middleton, along with Jim Spain, MU vice provost for undergraduate studies and professor of dairy nutrition in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, studied 100 dairy cows over two years to determine how subclinical hypocalcemia affected the health of the cows after they gave birth. Previous research done at MU has found that these issues also have a negative impact on cow fertility and reproduction. While the researchers did not find any direct links to health problems, they say correlations with higher levels of fat in the liver call for further research into the health implications of low blood calcium levels.
Dairy cows begin producing milk after giving birth, and continue for 11 to 12 months until they are “dried off” by a dairy farmer about 45-60 days before their next calving. To maximize the health of the cows and the amount of quality milk dairy cows produce, Middleton recommends paying close attention to dietary management in the late dry/early lactating period as well as providing supplemental sources of calcium during early lactation for cows at risk for subclinical hypocalcemia.
“Because our study suggests some potential risks for health issues in dairy cows with subclinical hypocalcemia, it is important for dairy farmers to monitor these levels in their cows,” Middleton said. “For herds experiencing a high incidence of subclinical hypocalcemia around the time of calving, adding anionic salts to their diets or providing calcium solutions orally or by injection at the time of calving could be beneficial to their overall health and productivity.”
University of Missouri

"Healthy" vegetable oils may actually increase risk of heart disease, researchers say
The oil from safflowers is high in omega-6 and low in omega-3 (photo by CGWF via Flickr)
Calling on Health Canada to reconsider health claim for omega-6 oils on food labels
New research from the University of Toronto shows certain vegetable oils that claim to be healthy may actually increase the risk of heart disease.
And the results mean Health Canada should reconsider cholesterol-lowering claims on food labeling, says Dr. Richard Bazinet, lead author of the new study which is available online now at the Canadian Medical Association Journal. “This is important information for people buying certain foods because of the heart benefits when really, that’s not accurate,” says Bazinet, of U of T’s department of nutritional sciences. “While most of these foods are a good choice, there are a few notable exceptions.”
Bazinet and his team report that replacing saturated animal fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils had become common practice for consumers, based on the understanding that such oils reduce serum cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease. Since 2012, Health Canada's Food Directorate has allowed the food industry to use a label on the oils – and foods containing the oils – claiming “a reduced risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels." But researchers say it’s more complicated than the label suggests – and the problem lies in the ratio of two kinds of polyunsaturates fatty acids found in the oils.
"Careful evaluation of recent evidence, however, suggests that allowing a health claim for vegetable oils rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but relatively poor in omega-3 α-linolenic acid may not be warranted," write Bazinet and Michael Chu, Lawson Health Research Institute and Division of Cardiac Surgery at Western University in London, Ontario. Corn and safflower oil, which are rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but contain almost no omega-3 α-linolenic acid, are not associated with beneficial effects on heart health, Bazinet says.
The authors cite a study published earlier this year in February 2013 in which "...the intervention group replaced saturated fat with sources of safflower oil or safflower oil margarine (rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but low in omega-3 α-linoleic acid). They found that the intervention group had serum cholesterol levels that were significantly decreased (by about 8%–13%) relative to baseline and the control group, which is consistent with the health claim."
However, rates of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease significantly increased in the treatment group, says Bazinet.
"When the new results were added to a meta-analysis, the net result was a borderline 33 per cent increase in heart disease risk for oils rich in omega-6 and poor in omega-3, with absolutely no evidence of a benefit as is implied by the health claim," Bazinet says.
In Canada, omega-6 linoleic acid is found in corn and safflower oils as well as foods such as mayonnaise, creamy dressings, margarine, chips and nuts. Canola and soybean oils, which contain both linoleic and α-linolenic acids, are the most common forms of oil in the Canadian diet.
“We suggest that the health claim be modified such that foods rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but poor in omega-3 α-linolenic acid be excluded," conclude the authors.
University of Toronto

Peptide derived from cow's milk kills human stomach cancer cells in culture
Findings reported in the Journal of Dairy Science show promise for treatment of gastric cancer
New research from a team of researchers in Taiwan indicates that a peptide fragment derived from cow's milk, known as lactoferricin B25 (LFcinB25), exhibited potent anticancer capability against human stomach cancer cell cultures. The findings, published in the Journal of Dairy Science®, provide support for future use of LFcinB25 as a potential therapeutic agent for gastric cancer.
"Gastric cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide, especially in Asian countries," says Wei-Jung Chen, PhD, of the Department of Biotechnology and Animal Science of National Ilan University, Taiwan Republic of China. "In general, the main curative therapies for gastric cancer are surgery and chemotherapy, which are generally only successful if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage. Novel treatment strategies to improve prognosis are urgently needed."
Investigators evaluated the effects of three peptide fragments derived from lactoferricin B, a peptide in milk that has antimicrobial properties. Only one of the fragments, LFcinB25 reduced the survival of human AGS (Gastric Adenocarcinoma) cells in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner.
Under a microscope the investigators could see that after an hour of exposure to the gastric cancer cells, LFcinB25 migrated to the cell membrane of the AGS cells, and within 24 hours the cancer cells had shrunken in size and lost their ability to adhere to surfaces. In the early stages of exposure, LFcinB25 reduced cell viability through both apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagy (degradation and recycling of obsolete or damaged cell parts). At later stages, apoptosis appeared to dominate, possibly through caspase-dependent mechanisms, and autophagy waned.
"This is the first report describing interplay between apoptosis and autophagy in LFcinB-induced cell death of cancer cells," says Dr. Chen.
The research also suggested a target, Beclin-1, which may enhance LFcinB25's cytotoxic action. Beclin-1 is a protein in humans that plays a central role in autophagy, tumour growth, and degeneration of neurons. In this study, the investigators found that cleaved beclin-1 increased in a time-dependent manner after LFcinB25-exposure, suggesting to the authors a new approach in drug development that may boost the anticancer effects of LFcinB25.
"Optimization of LFcinB using various strategies to enhance further selectivity is expected to yield novel anticancer drugs with chemotherapeutic potential for the treatment of gastric cancer," concludes Dr. Chen.
Elsevier Health Sciences

'Tearless' onions could help in the fight against cardiovascular disease, weight gain
"Inhibition of Platelet Activation by Lachrymatory Factor Synthase (LFS)-Silenced (Tearless) Onion Juice" - Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Onions, a key ingredient in recipes around the globe, come in a tearless version that scientists are now reporting could pack health benefits like its close relative, garlic, which is renowned for protecting against heart disease. They published their laboratory analysis, which suggests a similar heart-friendly role for the tearless onions, as well as a possible role in managing weight gain, in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Colin C. Eady and colleagues note that the onion has a unique chemistry that leads to its tear-inducing effects when cut. Its pungency has driven cooks to don goggles, clench wooden spoons in their mouths and try other usually futile techniques to prevent crying at the cutting board. An answer could arrive in the form of a new type of onion that makes less of the protein blamed for making eyes burn and tear up. Eady’s team has developed such a version, which instead makes a sulfur compound similar to one found in cut garlic that may be the key to its cardiovascular benefits. Many people eat garlic cloves or take it as a nutritional supplement in pill form to reduce the clumping of platelets in the blood, which can lead to blood clots and clogged arteries. Garlic also has been shown to reduce weight gain. They wanted to know whether the new onion might also have similar positive effects on health.
The scientists found that in lab tests, extract from the tearless onion significantly reduced platelet clumping, compared to regular onions or even garlic. Other results showed that the new onion had about the same anti-inflammatory properties as the original. Also, preliminary testing in rats showed that the tearless onion could help control weight gain — more so than regular onions or garlic.
The authors cite funding support from the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
American Chemical Society

Roquette has received a favourable opinion from EFSA concerning a 13.5 health claim. The claim relates to the company’s Nutriosee fibre, a non-fermentable carbohydrate in the buccal cavity and the maintenance of tooth mineralisation. The company said that this first claim application success is positive confirmation in particular of EFSA’s recognition of the quality and scientific rigour of the company’s nutritional studies devoted to its ingredients, and that it strengthens one of Roquette’s strategic development areas: nutrition-health.

Vital Solutions Swiss AG is now fully operational and is announcing the opening of its Innovation Laboratory, supporting the research and development of proprietary science-based health ingredients. The Innovation Laboratory will leverage technologies such as bioassays and phytochemical analysis to support the product development of natural health care ingredients with scientifically proven beneficial effects. Dr. Karin Berger Büter, CSO of Vital Solutions Swiss AG explains: “Our goal is to provide world class phytochemical and biological support to our customers […] The phyto-medicinal industry is looking for partners who can investigate safety and efficacy of potential candidates at an early development stage. In addition we see a high demand for bioequivalence studies of natural products and the development and validation of phytochemical analytical methods used in quality assurance”.

Indena has entered an industrial and commercial agreement with Pharmatoka. On the basis of this agreement, Indena will produce GIKACRAN® under exclusive license for Pharmatoka and will directly market GIKACRAN® in Japan, South Korea, China, India and Russia. GIKACRAN® is a well characterized cranberry juice (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) extract, standardized so as to provide 17-22 percent total proanthocyanidin (PAC) measured by DMAC method. 200 mg of GIKACRAN®, containing 36 mg of cranberry proanthocyanidins (PACs), provide the same amount of PACs as found in 40 g of fresh fruits. GIKACRAN® has been used since 2006 in different dietary supplement products in and outside Europe under the brand names URELL® and ELLURA®. It is also available in Malaysia as a traditional herbal medicine and in Australia as a complementary listed medicine. Gunter Haesaerts, CEO and Founder of Pharmatoka: “Indena and Pharmatoka share the mission to improve health and well-being for people worldwide, summarized in our four principles […] Scientific support, close relationship with health professionals, continuous listening to our customers and excellence of our products are what we commit to, and Indena is an excellent partner”.

P.L. Thomas & Co., Inc. has announced that it has launched a new cognitive health ingredient targeted to consumers looking for an edge in learning and mental performance. Called Synapsa™ Natural Memory Support, the ingredient is the subject of six double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies in which healthy adults showed significantly improved performance in areas such as visual processing, learning rate, working memory, information retention and mental performance in cognitively demanding environments. The company refers that Synapsa is a patented, standardized form of Bacopa monnieri that has been the subject of more than 30 years of research.

DQS has certified Symrise as a “Green Company”. As defined by DQS a “Green Company” is a company that sets itself apart from its competitors in terms of products, services and environmental standards by minimizing its impact on the environment. Symrise has successfully passed the audit. Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO of Symrise refers: “With the ‘Green Company’ GC Mark, Symrise demonstrates how firmly sustainability is established within the company […] Employees, customers and suppliers are working together to shape and improve sustainable processes. In doing so they are playing a key role in adding value. The seal is based on established standards and transparent, comprehensible criteria. We are thus boosting our position as a reliable business partner”.

Tereos Syral has presented a series of prototypes illustrating how its range can answer the industry’s major challenges. The company explains Mylose® 351 innovative glucose syrup for taste and texture adaptation and cost optimisation, Maltilite® maltitol syrup and powder for sugar reduced formulation, Maldex® maltodextrin for fat reduction in bakery, Actilight® soluble fibres for fibre enrichment. The company shares its expertise in carbohydrate formulation for both technological and nutritional benefits, but is also a major producer of wheat proteins. Tereos Syral Application Centre works in partnership with its customers to design tomorrow’s high protein food and beverages with Meripro® soluble wheat proteins.

The DSM Personal Care Business Unit is proud to announce the launch of Retinol GS 50, one of the most potent actives in the personal care industry. Retinol has long been known and appreciated as one of the most effective skincare actives around. The company refers that retinol helps people everywhere, regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity, look more beautiful for longer and that is why it has been named the gold standard in skin aging. Madina Sautova, Global Marketing Manager Skin Care at DSM Personal Care Business Unit, comments: “Skin aging has always been one of the most important focus areas of our Business Unit. Many years ago DSM’s studies on vitamin A led the way to its greater acceptance in the cosmetic industry. Now we are once again demonstrating our commitment to bringing to the market transformational beauty care ingredients that enhance the way the skin looks and feels”.

At the latest edition of the Pro Carton/ECMA Award, Europe's most important award for packaging made of carton board, the jury selected the la Morella nuts “Nut Box” as the best confectionery packaging. The Nut Box was created by Du Caju Printing N.V. on the request of Barry Callebaut. Sofie De Lathouwer, Marketing Director Western Europe at Barry Callebaut refers: “The Nut Box was based on a brochure design our agency Berlin created on our request […] We wanted the brochure and the packaging to project in an unambiguous way that la Morella nuts is a premium brand which offers quality of the highest range”.

LycoRed introduces a new natural beta-carotene colourants line and new application concepts for vitamin and mineral premixes designed for use in healthy and functional beverages. The new beta-carotene colourant formulations are available in both natural and nature-identical sources, free of DCM (dichloromethane) and four times more colour-intense than the existing colourant formulations available. They can be used in clear beverages as well as in cloudy beverages, with a wide yellow to orange spectrum depending on the desired colour required.

Alfa Laval and Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB) have decided to extend their successful partnership for five more years. According to the extended agreement that will go into effect January 2014, Alfa Laval will continue to be a preferred SSB distribution partner that provides trap and sterile filtration solutions worldwide to the brewing Industry. Kim Dalum, General Manager, Market Unit Brewery, Alfa Laval explains: “We are really looking forward to further developing our successful partnership with Sartorius Stedim Biotech […] Thanks to the highly effective, long-life Sartorius membrane filters, we can continue to meet the brewing industry’s increasing demand for safe and cost-efficient beer sterile filtration systems for premium quality beer”.

GELITA’s portfolio is based on gelatine and collagen. As collagen is the most abundant protein in humans and animals, GELITA recognizes the value of its innovative and well researched solutions for joint health, muscle maintenance and beauty. PETAGILE® Bioactive Collagen Peptides® significantly improve the overall agility of pets by positively impacting joint cartilage. VERISOL® Bioactive Collagen Peptides® substantially increase skin elasticity and hydration and prevent the formation of wrinkles by stimulating skin metabolism and the creation of new collagen. GELITA ® GELATINE has been used for decades to provide benefits of taking medicine and nutritional ingredients that are encased in convenient and elegant, dose-sized gelatine capsules.

DMK Deutsches Milchkontor GmbH, presents a wide range of dairy ingredients including milk powders, whey powders and derivatives, concentrates, special cream and a number of varieties of cheeses and butters. Expert teams at the company's Milk Innovation Centre (MIC) develop innovative novelties from the basic milk. DMK offers a broad spectrum of customised products for widely varying industry sectors, including fine foods, ready meals, ice cream, beverages, baked goods and confectionery.

bolasco as exclusive trade partner for Sunsweet has presented attractive novelties from the portfolio of the worldwide leading producer for prunes and prune ingredients: These natural ingredients give impulses for sales-boosting product ideas, not only to dairy companies but also to producers of muesli and cereals. In recent years the demand of consumers for dairy products and desserts with genuine fruit pieces increased. Diced prunes give real piece identity in fruit preparations in dairy products and thus comply with the demand of consumers. The prune dices from Sunsweet are ideal for yogurts, cream cheese, ice cream, desserts or fruit-based milk drinks. Independent market research tests show a high consumer acceptance for this new product. Almost two thirds of the interviewed consumers would buy the prune dices among others because of the taste, texture and appearance.

CP Kelco announces further investment DKK 60 million ($10.7 million) into additional expansion in Lille Skensved, Denmark. The expansion is the next phase after an initial DKK 15 million ($2.7 million) investment that readied the infrastructure for additional expansions as the company explains. This expansion is necessary to meet the increased demand for high-quality GENU® amidated grades of pectin. This pectin type is used broadly in the food industry for products such as low-sugar and sugar-free jams, fruit preparations for yoghurt, and thermo-reversible bakery glazes.

Proteins are key ingredients of sports nutrition products. Among proteins, some plant proteins get increasingly attention. Among plant proteins, Pisane®, pea protein isolate from Cosucra, has very interesting arguments. It has an essential amino acids profile similar to casein and is moderately fast digested, not as fast as whey but faster than casein. Pisane® exhibits also high levels of branch chained amino acids, in particular leucine, but also arginine, two particularly interesting amino acids for athletes. Cosucra explains that Pisane® can be used as sole protein source. Its very good digestibility, its branch chained amino acid profile, its high level of arginine and its intermediate digestion rate make Pisane® a very good source of protein.

Tate & Lyle introduces PULPIZ™ Pulp Extender, an easy-to-use modified starch that brings exceptional pulp like texture - even after processing - and in formulations with low tomato paste content. Tate & Lyle demonstrated PULPIZ™ can replace at least 25 percent of tomato paste in certain applications. Werner Barbosa, Global Platform Leader Texturants at Tate & Lyle refers: “Tate & Lyle leveraged its extensive starch expertise to develop PULPIZ™ and give our customers the ability to do more with less while maintaining taste, texture and meeting production goals […] Because PULPIZ™ can be easily incorporated into typical manufacturing processes, it offers an innovative and effective solution for manufacturers dealing with rising recipe costs and the volatility of the tomato paste market”.

With the help of the latest and most advanced technologies such as distillation, extraction and chromatography, Döhler uses 100 percent natural raw materials such as fruits, vegetables and other plant substances to produce FTNF/FTNJ flavours, extracts and flavour building blocks with a distinctively authentic taste. Using exclusively physical processes guarantees that no process aids or solvents can impair the clean, pure taste of nature, so that the term “naturalness” can be used with absolute accuracy.

Epax was recently acquired by FMC Corporation a diversified chemical company serving agricultural, industrial, environmental, and consumer markets. FMC has committed to expanding its position in high-growth health and nutrition markets, and Epax will become the foundation of the company’s presence in nutraceuticals. Epax has presented some of the new technologies made possible through FMC’s expertise in encapsulation, such as SeaGel®, its seaweed-extract-based soft gel capsule technology and soon to be released innovations such as ultra-high omega-3 concentrates.

IMCD Group B.V. has announced that effective from 1st October 2013 Network Nutrition, joined the Group. The integration of the Network Nutrition and IMCD businesses, along with the recent acquisition of Capitol Ingredients Australia, will amount to the largest specialised natural ingredients provider in the region. Ryan Gorman, CEO, Network Nutrition added that by merging Network Nutrition’s activities into the IMCD structure, the opportunities for growth and development of the existing portfolio are significantly amplified: “This is an important stage in the evolution of our brand and our partner brands. It presents our customers with even greater advantages and benefits”.

With Deutsches Milchkontor GmbH (DMK), Germany’s biggest dairy-company, c-LEcta has gained another important industry partner. The partnership is aiming at the development and marketing of innovative food products. With a first project assigned by DMK to c-LEcta the cooperation started just recently.