Industrial Application Briefs – January 2013

Vegetables aren't all carrots and peas, and there are grains outside the corn and wheat bins, too. Looking at the characteristics of foods that are unfamiliar to domestic markets tells us a lot. Knowledge is power, after all, and understanding the active ingredients in exotic products can help tell us more about the everyday. A couple of centuries ago—a short period in the eons of time—we didn't know much about tomatoes and bananas, either. One study isn't enough, and researchers and formulators need to keep on reading!

Polyphenols in Merlot Wine Stop Free-Radicals and Other Aging Compounds

Merlot, once a “blending wine” and now one of the most popular reds in the world, contains a high number and significant quantity of various polyphenols. In recent years, polyphenols have become the rising star of healthy foods, and claims benefits of the French wine phenomenon, and the Mediterranean diet. According to the Spanish researchers doing this study, Merlot is made in 2 ways: one free run and the other one pressed. The free run wine is the juice which flows without any pressing. The pressed wine is that one released by pressing the residue of seeds, stems, and skins. Not too surprisingly, Merlot red wine made from pressed juices contained more total phenols, catechins, proanthocyanidins, and anthocyanidins than free run juices; but not significantly more. Among the individual major polyphenols found in Merlot red wine extract, quercetin was the most active. The full review of methods used to evaluate the individual polyphenols is found in “Protective Effects of Merlot Red Wine Extract and its Major Polyphenols in Pc12 Cells under Oxidative Stress Conditions”, as well as quantities of the active ingredients. H112–H118

Sri-Lanka Native Plant Has Leaves that Control Lipid Absorption and Blood Glucose

In “Proanthocyanidin Oligomers Isolated from Salacia reticulata Leaves Potently Inhibit Pancreatic Lipase Activity,” researchers studied the activity of “Kothala himbutu”, (KT) finding that the active compounds were most likely a polyphenol whose proanthocyanidin oligomers were composed of epigallocatechin, epicathechin, and epiafzelechin as main constituents. The degree of polymerization was estimated to be about 5 from the ratio of the peak area of the thio ethers/flavan-3-ols at 230 nm. This compound was one of the stronger effective lipid-lowering therapeutic agents, of which PLI activity (μM/L) was almost the same as epigallocatechin gallate. Keeping dietary fat from being absorbed using a pancreatic lipase inhibitor is a way of maintaining a lipid balance. KT is used as a direct controller of blood glucose by Indian medical practitioners to treat certain forms of diabetes, where it reportedly prevents postprandial hypertriglyceridemia in humans and decreases the fasting plasma glucose level, hemoglobin A1c, and body mass index (BMI) of patients with mild type 2 diabetes. While the lipid activity seems clear-cut, the effect of additional polyphenols salacinol and kotalanol with thiosugar sulfonium sulfate have been isolated from the aqueous extracts of KT stems and roots as compounds that could decrease the plasma glucose levels by an α-glucosidase inhibitory activity. There's a lot more to learn about the interaction between anti-lipid and anti-glucose activities and the action of phytochemicals against these conditions. H105–H111

Rice-Bean – A Little Bean with Promise

Rice beans come in several colors, mostly reds and yellows, and are grown throughout Indo-China, China, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The crop hasn't had the advantage of breeding programs, and is generally used as an intercrop legume between maize and sorghum crops, growing on the areas between fields and sometimes in rice levees. It appears to be nitrogen-fixing, so may help fertilize the corn-sorghum crop. It doesn't get much additional nutrients or rain, but produces a lot of animal fodder and grain. In “Nutritional Potential of Rice Bean (Vigna Umbellata): An Underutilized Legume,” 16 rice bean genotypes were studied for nutritional content. Most of the genotypes indicated good nutritional quality, and relatively small amounts of antinutritional factors (such as phytic acid), and the little bean is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and proteins. This paper is a good start toward better use of this grain pulse that is so little known. C8–C16

Little Green Oranges on the Ground May Have Value

When citrus trees drop fruit prematurely, the practice in China is to burn the young fruit to keep the orchard clean. During the 2 periods of early drop, a few of the fruit are gathered as a source of antioxidants for Chinese folk medicine. Researchers reporting the content and concentration of a number of antioxidants in “Phytochemical Profile and Antioxidant Activity of Physiological Drop of Citrus Fruits” found a number of antioxidants, mostly soluble, in the wide variety of Chinese orchard fruits. Some of the actives included flavonoids, phenolic acids, and limonoids. The immature fruits generally have higher concentration of the phytochemicals than mature ones. There is wide use of phytochemicals already developed, so the major work to be done is setting up manufacturing protocols to provide good standard product. C37–C42

Making Lowfat Yogurt More Functional

Some people eat low fat yogurt to gain more active agents to help control bacteria in the digestive tract, and these folks will want as many active agents as possible. Others want a smooth, creamy, tasty product and are minimally interested in live cultures. Some want both—plus extraordinary flavor and texture. In “Influence of Galactooligosaccharides and Modified Waxy Maize Starch on Some Attributes of Yogurt,” researchers studied how galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and modified waxy maize starch (MWMS) influenced the attributes of yogurt. GOS is known as a stimulator of lactic acid bacteria and, at a 2.0 addition level, stimulates starter culture growth, syneresis, and firmness of low-fat yogurt during storage for 28 d at 4 °C, resulting in a shorter fermentation time. Addition of GOS resulted in higher (P < 0.05) concentration of lactic and acetic acids in comparison with that of MWMSY and the control yogurt up to day 14; thereafter, the product showed a decrease in lactic acid content in all 3 batches until the end of storage. For American formulators, it should be noted that GOS is GRAS for certain products at certain levels. M77–M83