Flaking process increases the NF-κB inhibition activity and melanoidin extractability of coffee



Don Chen, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel: +312 503 3716; Fax: +312 503 0994; E-mail: dong-chen@northwestern.edu Yi-Fang Chu, 801 Waukegan Road, Glenview, IL 60025. Tel: +1 847 646 3878; Fax: +1 847 646 3441; E-mail: yifang.chu@kraftfoods.com


Research on the health impacts of coffee has escalated. However, few studies were devoted to understanding the potential impact of mechanical processing on coffee's chemistry and subsequent health implications. Coffee flaking is a commonly used process to improve extractability and aroma characteristics. In this study, we studied the biochemical activity, chemical composition, and microstructure of coffee before and after flaking. We found that flaked coffee extract had 3.3-fold higher activity in inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation than regular coffee extract. Interestingly, flaking did not significantly alter the amount of coffee phenolics. It increased coffee melanoidin, by 2.1-fold, which likely contributed to the observed higher activity in inhibiting NF-κB activation. Flaking crushed cell walls revealed by microscopy might possibly result in disruption of polysaccharide entanglement and release of high-molecular-weight compounds, such as melanoidins. Consequently, the increased melanoidin content in the brew resulted in the increased inhibition of NF-κB activation. Small molecules, like coffee phenolics, are readily soluble in water during coffee brewing even without flaking, suggesting that flaking has no effect on its extractability. In summary, our investigation revealed that flaking enhanced NF-κB inhibition activity, possibly through the release of melanoidins from crushed cell microstructures.