Can eating blueberries really help you see better in the dark?
Blueberries are super stars among health food advocates, who tout the fruit for not only promoting heart health, better memory and digestion, but also for improving night vision. Scientists have taken a closer look at this latter claim and have found reason to doubt that the popular berry helps most healthy people see better in the dark. Their report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.
Wilhelmina Kalt and colleagues note that studies published decades ago provided the first hints that blueberries might improve people’s night vision. Later lab experiments appeared to shore up these early findings. For example, anthocyanins, which are pigment molecules in blueberries and other plants, encourage the regeneration of key molecules in the eye involved in perceiving light. But reviews of the earlier clinical research that tested the effect of blueberries on night vision in human subjects revealed that the studies were poorly controlled. Kalt’s team wanted to revisit the matter with a new set of carefully designed experiments.
The researchers at a blueberry-supplemented diet did not improve sight in the dark, but they did help subjects recover normal vision after exposure to a bright light. The enhancement, however, was small and not likely noticeable to most healthy people, the researchers concluded. But they added that anthocyanins might improve visual health among people who have existing eye disorders, though this remains to be demonstrated with well-designed studies.
The authors acknowledge funding from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
The American Chemical Society
Oranges versus orange juice: Which one might be better for your health?
Many health advocates advise people to eat an orange and drink water rather than opt for a serving of sugary juice. But in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that the picture is not clear-cut. Although juice is indeed high in sugar, the scientists found that certain nutrients in orange juice might be easier for the body to absorb than when a person consumes them from unprocessed fruit.
Ralf Schweiggert, Julian Aschoff and colleagues note that oranges are packed with nutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids that, among other benefits, can potentially help lower a person’s risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. But many people prefer to drink a glass of orange juice rather than eat the fruit. Sugar content aside, are they getting the same nutritional benefits? Schweiggert’s team set out to answer that question.
The researchers found that the production of pasteurized orange juice slightly lowered the levels of carotenoids and vitamin C. But at the same time, it significantly improved the carotenoid and vitamin C bioaccessibility — or how much the body can absorb and use. And contrary to conventional wisdom, although juicing oranges dramatically cut flavonoid levels, the remaining ones were much more bioaccessible than those in orange segments.
The American Chemical Society
Sweet potato leaves: a good source of vitamins
Study confirms leaves of sweet potato plants contain significant levels of vitamin B6, other water-soluble vitamins
Sweetpotato is known to be a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and certain B vitamins that are considered essential to human health. Besides the commonly consumed root of the plant, certain tissues in sweetpotato are also edible and high in nutritional value. Although studies have confirmed that water-soluble vitamins exist in sweetpotato roots and leaves, there has been limited information about how these vitamins are actually distributed in the plants. Wilmer Barrera and David Picha from Louisiana State University Agricultural Center published a research study in HortScience that shows that mature and young leaves of sweetpotato can provide significant amounts of vitamin B6 and other essential vitamins.
"The objective of the study was to determine the ascorbic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 content in a wide range of edible tissues of 'Beauregard' and 'LA 07-146' sweetpotatoes, two important commercial cultivars in Louisiana," Barrera and Picha said. The scientists analyzed a variety of sweetpotato tissue types (mature leaves, young leaves, young petioles, buds, vine sections, and root tissue) from a sweetpotato plot at Louisiana State University in late October and again the following September. They conducted a third experiment to study water-soluble vitamin content among different sweetpotato root tissues.
Analyses revealed differences in total ascorbic acid (AA) content among tissue types. Young leaves contained the highest AA content, followed by mature leaves and buds. Buds also contained significantly higher AA content than sweetpotato roots, vines, and petiole tissues. "These results confirm previous studies that sweetpotato foliar tissues are a good source of ascorbic acid, and that young leaves have the highest foliar AA content," the scientists noted. The experiments showed no presence of thiamin in foliar tissues, a finding the authors say differs from previous studies. "The lack of thiamin in our results might be explained by cultivar differences," they explained.
Results also showed that riboflavin content differed with sweetpotato tissue type, but was consistently higher in the leaves; mature leaves contained higher amounts of riboflavin than young leaves and other plant tissues, including roots. "Leaf tissue also contained higher total vitamin B6 content compared with other tissues. Mature leaves contained 3.4 times higher vitamin B6 than roots, whereas mature petioles contained 2.3 times more than roots," the authors said. "Bud tissue and young leaves also contained higher B6 levels than roots, whereas the vine and young petiole tissue contents were lower than roots."
Barrera and Picha concluded that ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 contents were higher in leaf tissue than in other tissue types. "Our results indicate that mature and young leaves of sweetpotato could provide significant amounts of vitamin B6 to the human diet," they said. They noted that the vitamin B6 content in sweetpotato leaves compares well with fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, avocados, carrots, bananas, and cauliflower.
The American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS)
Celiac disease rate among young children has almost tripled in past 20 years
Kids from poorer families only half as likely to be diagnosed with the condition
The evidence to date suggests that up to 1% of all children in the UK have blood markers for coeliac disease, an autoimmune reaction to dietary gluten from wheat, barley, and rye.
In a bid to assess current diagnostic patterns, the research team assessed data contained in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a representative UK database of anonymised primary care health records.
They identified all children from birth to the age of 18, registered with general practices across the UK that contribute to THIN, between 1993 and 2012.
Among the total of 2,063,421 children, 1247 had been diagnosed with coeliac disease during this period, corresponding to around 1 new case in every 10,000 children every year.
This case rate was similar across all four UK countries, and was 53% higher among girls than among boys. Between 1993 and 2012, diagnoses rose by 39% in boys, but doubled in girls.
While the numbers of new cases diagnosed in infants and toddlers remained fairly stable across all four countries, diagnoses among children older than 2 years almost tripled in the space of 20 years. The diagnosis rate for coeliac disease in 2008-12 among children was 75% higher than it was in 1993-97.
When the researchers analysed the social and economic backgrounds of children diagnosed with the condition, they found that those from less well-off backgrounds were only half as likely to be diagnosed with the condition. This pattern was evident for both boys and girls, and across all ages.
The researchers say the rise in new cases among children is likely to be the result of better awareness of coeliac disease, as well as the means to diagnose it. But this does not explain the differences in diagnoses among children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, they say.
"Based on the current evidence, the most plausible explanation for the socioeconomic gradient in the incidence of childhood coeliac disease whereby children from least deprived areas have [it] diagnosed more often than those from the most deprived areas is that ascertainment of disease varies, rather than the true occurrence of [coeliac disease]," they write.
BMJ-British Medical Journal
You are what you eat
How gut bacteria affect brain health
The hundred trillion bacteria living in an adult human--mostly in the intestines, making up the gut microbiome--have a significant impact on behaviour and brain health. The many ways gut bacteria can impact normal brain activity and development, affect sleep and stress responses, play a role in a variety of diseases, and be modified through diet for therapeutic use are described in a comprehensive Review article in Journal of Medicinal Food, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
In "The Gut Microbiome and the Brain", Leo Galland, Foundation for Integrated Medicine (New York, NY), presents the most up-to-date understanding of the relationship between the proteins produced by intestinal bacteria and the human central nervous system. The author explores the various mechanisms through which the microbiome can influence the brain: by stimulating and over-stimulating the immune system, producing neurotoxic agents, releasing hormones or neurotransmitters identical to those made by the human body, or through direct neuronal stimulation that sends signals to the brain.
"The microbiome has become a hot topic in many branches of medicine, from immune and inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's and IBD to cardiovascular diseases," says Co-Editor-in-Chief Sampath Parthasarathy, MBA, PhD, Florida Hospital Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Central Florida, Orlando. "Scientists are not only aware of the 'good' and the 'bad' microbes in the gut but are becoming increasingly aware of how they could alter the metabolism beyond gut."
Genetic Engineering News
CARGILL TO RELOCATE MEAT SLICING AND PACKAGING FROM SPRINGFIELD, MO., TO NEBRASKA AND TEXAS
Cargill managers has informed the 118 employees at its meat slicing and packaging facility in Springfield that operations will be moving to the company’s facilities at Nebraska City, Neb., and Waco, Texas. The Springfield facility will close on March 11, 2015. The decision to close its Springfield facility followed a thorough assessment of Cargill’s turkey and cooked meats future business needs. Upon the closure of the facility, each affected employee will be offered a severance package, as well as opportunities and support to relocate to Cargill positions at other company facilities in the region. Cargill also will conduct job fairs. “These decisions are never easy, especially when they involve good people who do great work for our business” said Ruth Kimmelshue, president of Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats and continued: “We value the contributions of our colleagues and will do as much as possible to help those who are impacted find other employment, including at other Cargill locations”.
DSM’S DELVOTEST® T OFFICIAL ANTIBIOTIC RESIDUE TEST IN THE NETHERLANDS
DSM Food Specialties’ Delvotest® T was chosen by QLIP, Dutch partner in quality assurance in the agrofood chain, as the national reference test to detect antibiotic residues in milk. The broad spectrum test was selected because of its high sensitivity and reliability. The test is fully compliant with Dutch dairy regulations, promoting a high quality milk supply throughout the whole dairy chain, from farmer to dairy to consumer. QLIP is commissioned by Dutch dairy companies to determine the composition and quality of farm milk samples. The analyses they perform meet the specific requirements of the official Dutch dairy regulations and detect the most relevant residues at or below the European Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). Delvotest® T is a broad spectrum test which identifies a variety of antibiotics at or below EU MRLs with higher sensitivity for tetracyclines than any other microbiological screening test. QLIP selected Delvotest® T because the test is closest to the aimed detection level and because of its robust performance and consistent results.
TATE & LYLE EXPANDS ITS FOOD SYSTEMS BUSINESS IN LATIN AMERICA THROUGH NEW JOINT VENTURE
Tate & Lyle PLC has announced the establishment of a joint venture with Gemacom Tech Indústria e Comércio S.A. (“Gemacom Tech”) through the acquisition by Tate & Lyle of a majority equity interest in Gemacom Tech. Founded in 1990, Gemacom Tech is the leading domestically-owned Food Systems business in Brazil, operating from two blending facilities and laboratories in the state of Minas Gerais, about 200km north of Rio de Janeiro. Gemacom Tech provides stabilizer systems and ingredient blends for customers across Brazil and some other South American countries, predominantly in the dairy category. The transaction to establish the new joint venture, which will be known as Tate & Lyle Gemacom Tech, was completed on 4 December 2014. Tate & Lyle has an option to acquire the remaining equity interest in Gemacom Tech at a later stage. Gemacom Tech has annual sales of around US$30 million. Joan Braca, President, Speciality Food Ingredients, Tate & Lyle said: “The combination of Tate & Lyle’s global blending capabilities and recipe know-how with Gemacom Tech’s strong local expertise and infrastructure provides us with an excellent platform on which to grow our Food Systems business in Brazil and across South America”.
AJINOMOTO GROUP TO INCREASE PRODUCTION OF FEED GRADE AMINO ACID TRYPTOPHAN IN FRANCE
Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition Group, Inc. will increase its annual production capacity of the feed grade amino acid Tryptophan manufactured and sold in France from 4,500 tons to 7,500 tons. AANG will secure and stabilize profits by introducing new technology to enhance its competitiveness while strengthening the flexibility of its production system, which can switch product lines in response to changes in market prices of feed-use amino acids. As a result of the Ajinomoto Group’s proactive efforts to create demand, the market for feed-use Tryptophan has expanded rapidly, with annual growth rate of approximately 40% over the past five years (2014 AANG survey), and steady growth is expected in the future. This introduction of new production technology further evolves Ajinomoto’s lower resource fermentation technology. Advancing this technology, which the Ajinomoto Group has been promoting for some time, allows production with a lower volume of raw materials and fuel to enable greater cost competitiveness and increased production with a low environmental burden. In addition, the implementation of shared facilities for other product lines (Lysine, Threonine and Valine) will strengthen the production system, which can switch among product lines as necessary.
Recent studies by Ajonomoto have demonstrated that kokumi substances are perceived through the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR). They reported that γ-glutamyl-valyl-glycine (γ-Glu-Val-Gly) is a potent kokumi peptide. In Ajonomoto previous study, it was announced that the addition of γ-Glu-Val-Gly to chicken consommé significantly enhanced mouthfulness, continuity and thickness. In this study, the effect of γ-Glu-Val-Gly on reduced-fat peanut butter was investigated. A kokumi peptide, γ-Glu-Val-Gly, can enhance thick flavour, aftertaste and oiliness in reduced-fat peanut butter. This suggests that addition of γ-Glu-Val-Gly can improve the flavour of low-fat foods.
CAPSUGEL ACQUIRES MONASH UNIVERSITY'S PROPRIETARY IONIC LIQUIDS TECHNOLOGY
Capsugel and Monash University have announced that Capsugel has acquired the intellectual property pertaining to proprietary Ionic Liquids Technology developed at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), Monash University. This novel technology uses lipid-like counter-ion salts to improve the solubility of drugs in lipid-based liquid, semi-solid and multiparticulate formulations. This technology adds to Capsugel Dosage Form Solutions’ growing suite of bioavailability enhancement technologies and capabilities. Under the terms of the agreement, Monash University will transfer its patent application and associated results and know-how to Capsugel, effective immediately. Capsugel will also extend its existing partnership with MIPS by funding additional research positions to accelerate ongoing and future drug-delivery projects.
CORPORATE MERGERS SELLS FOODBLENDERS TO FRUTAROM
The transaction, was completed on Monday 2nd February was handled and negotiated by George Seward of Leicestershire based Corporate Mergers Limited. FoodBlenders is a specialist blender of savoury dry mixes and is particularly well known for its expertise and capability in gravy mixes for the food manufacturing industry. The majority shareholder, Dominic Forty is to remain with the Business and continue to grow the business with the support and backing of Frutarom. This is the fifth transaction that Corporate Mergers has been involved with in the Ingredients sector and all have been “Cross Border” deals – involving overseas partners. Speaking about the transaction, Corporate Mergers MD George Seward said: “Our expertise in selling privately owned food businesses, but particularly in this sector has resulted in a tremendous deal for the shareholders. We are very pleased for them”. Dominic Forty, FoodBlenders majority shareholder commented: “Many thanks to you for the great professionalism that you have shown from day one, introducing us to perspective purchasers and guiding us through the entire process to completion. Both you, Julian and Lorna have invested a great deal of time into this project”.
JUNGBUNZLAUER SHOWCASES KEY SOLUTIONS FOR SODIUM REDUCTION AND FOOD SAFETY
Jungbunzlauer refers that its product portfolio for the meat industry include healthy and safe solutions. At this year‘s we will be showcasing a low sodium chicken nugget with two dipping sauces. The U.S. is the biggest processed meat market but in recent decades consumer behaviour has changed due to health concerns. Sodium reduction is a trend in nutritional health and well-being which has had an effect to the whole food industry globally. The use of salt has a long tradition in the preparation of meat products. Besides providing taste its main function is preservation because meat is very sensitive to microbial spoilage. Jungbunzlauer potassium lactate and blends with acetates and diacetates represent effective solutions for sodium reduction in processed meat products. More than 25 % sodium reduction can be achieved by simply replacing usual sodium with potassium based lactates or lactate blends. In combination with Jungbunzlauer sub4salt®, our 1:1 salt replacer product line, also available in a version for meat curing, a sodium reduction of even more than 50 % is possible with no compromise in taste.
STAALKAT ARDENTA 300 HIGH-SPEED EGG GRADER
The design of the STAALKAT Ardenta 300, the latest automatic egg grading and packing machine from SANOVO TECHNOLOGY GROUP, draws on the company’s far-reaching expertise in food safety and cleaning in place. The leader in egg processing equipment has combined advanced hygienic design with a state-of-the-art operating system to deliver the speed and reliability demanded by the toughest food production environments of today and tomorrow. With its capacity of up to 108,000 eggs per hour, the STAALKAT Ardenta 300 decreases the cost per packed egg and hence boosts profit. The STAALKAT Ardenta is designed according to the high sanitation requirements in the egg processing industry. It is equipped with a washable roller entry conveyor and weighing section, enabling easy cleaning by foaming with detergent and rinsing off with water, including the weighing and crack detection unit. The STAALKAT Ardenta 300 offers almost 10% more capacity than its predecessor. Its grading and packing performance of 300 cases per hour equals up to 864,000 eggs in an eight-hour shift. With up to 16 packing lanes, the STAALKAT Ardenta 300 is flexible to handle a large variety of grades and packing activities simultaneously without compromising on efficiency. The STAALKAT Ardenta 300 is equipped with the EGG-it Touch program allowing the operator to monitor the entire operation and make adjustments as needed.
NEW SPECTRA™ STUDY REVEALS COMPELLING EFFECTS ON ROS CONCENTRATIONS
Spectra™ is a rationally designed blend of fruit, vegetable and herbal powders and extracts that recent human clinical research suggest supports a healthy response to oxidative and nitrosative stress in vivo. ORAC has traditionally been a valuable quality control marker and useful tool used to measure and compare the relative antioxidant potential of fruits and vegetables. However, linking the direct effects of the antioxidant potential of a natural product to quantifiable activity on reactive oxygen species (ROS, often referred to as "free radicals") in humans had been problematic. In a ground-breaking study designed to bridge the gap between a product’s antioxidant potential and its effects in humans, 100 mg of Spectra™ was shown to elicit a substantial response to free radical activity in the body. The study is a significant step forward in the understanding of the impact of fruit-, vegetable-, and herb-based materials on ROS concentrations and demonstrates how certain, well-designed combinations of natural ingredients at relatively low intake levels can have meaningful in vivo activity. Published in The Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, the study on Spectra™ documents the collaborative effort between FutureCeuticals, Inc. and the renowned antioxidant research team from International Chemistry Testing, Inc. headed by Dr. Boxin Ou, co-creator of the ORAC assay.