Industrial Applications of Selected JFS Articles

Healthy food can be described as food that avoids triggering health problems, such as cardiac disease, in the case of trans fats. Healthy food is also safe food, and the latest CDC report that identified 9 million illnesses in the U.S. from foodborne illnesses emphasizes the need for new ways of looking at the sporadic microbial content of foods.

Getting the (Trans) Fat Out

The global (almost) recognition that trans fats cause several health problems in humans has triggered activities aimed at removing these products in favor of healthier fats. According to the researchers who published the paper “Technological Approaches to Minimize Industrial Trans Fatty Acids in Foods”, there are 3 broad technical methods of doing this “(i) food reformulation (that is, TFAs replacement/reversion by an edible base stock of fatty acids (FAs); (ii) modification of FAs composition by fat interesterification (that is, chemical or enzymatic); and (iii) genetic modification of FAs composition (for example, customization of transgenic crops through biotechnological/genetic systems enabling the incorporation of a range of selected FAs into oilseed species of interest).” Further information about the health implications, quality aspects, and consumer interest in avoiding trans fats are discussed, and the main blocks to solving the problem is listed: “The remaining challenges are surmountable with, but not limited to: (i) learning, thinking, and ethical actions for greatest decisions; (ii) financial investment and time to perform all necessary randomized international studies; and (iii) total transparency to the consumers (that is, information for prevention.)” Food requirements differ from country to country, and in areas where trans fats are not banned, or where food labels don't have to list them, consumers need to know the current status of foods. R377–R386

Essential Oils Rid Tomatoes of Foodborne Illness Vector

In the paper titled “Inactivation of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Quality Maintenance of Cherry Tomatoes Treated with Gaseous Essential Oils”, researchers from USDA and China studied the effects of various essential oils in eliminating Salmonella from cherry tomatoes. Essential oils of from cinnamon bark, oregano, mustard, and of their major components cinnamaldehyde, carvacrol, and allyl isothiocyanate (AIT) were applied as a gaseous treatment to cherry tomatoes. Treatment with cinnamon EO and cinnamaldehyde did not materially degrade tomato quality. Tomatoes treated with oregano EO had better quality than nontreated samples after storage. “Treatment with cinnamon and oregano EO and their major components appeared to be feasible for inactivation of Salmonella on tomatoes and for maintaining quality.” M458–M464

Beating MRSA with Bioactive Peptides from Lactic Acid Bacteria

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one very bad bug. In “Antimicrobial Effect of Bacteriocin KU24 Produced by Lactococcus lactis KU24 against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus”, researchers found that Bacteriocin KU24 produced by Lactococcus lactis KU24 inhibited growth of the nasty bacteria, plus was heat stable and pH stable over the general range of temperature and pH used in food processes. The bactericidal bioactive peptides (bacteriocin), are produced in various fermented foods. Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized peptides or proteins that have antibacterial responses usually against bacteria closely related to the producer but also to some foodborne pathogens. MRSA has recently developed a reduced susceptibility to antibiotics vancomycin and teicoplanin, so new antibiotics are needed. Interestingly, the bacteriocin that was used was extracted from kimchi, the Korean style fermented cabbage product that is described as “explosive.” M465–M469

Rutin Is Enzymatically “Reshaped” for Effectiveness

According to the researchers who published the paper titled “Synthesis of Quercetin-3-O-Glucoside from Rutin by Penicillium decumbens Naringinase”, rutin is a bioflavonoid that includes the flavonol quercetin plus a sugar moiety O-α-L-rhamnosyl-(1→6)-β-D-glucose. The name comes from Ruta graveolens, relative of the common rue, grown as an herb, which contains rutin. Rutin is known to be abundant in buckwheat, apricots, cherries, and prunes, as well as citrus fruits and berries, and is an antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory, and affects platelet aggregation. The bioflavonoid is converted to quercetin-3-O-glucoside (Q-3-G) by removing the terminal rhamnose. Quercetin can be conjugated with glucose to increase absorption in the small intestine. The researchers found that “The solubility of Q-3-G was much higher than that of either rutin or quercetin, which may make it more bioavailable. Q-3-G was also approximately 6- and 1.4-fold better than rutin at inhibiting human intestinal maltase. Thus, the intermediate compound Q-3-G may be more bioavailable because of its enhanced solubility and can inhibit against key metabolic enzymes, especially maltase.” How the material acts to reduce cardiac illness has not been confirmed, but the paper answers some questions about how it can be manipulated. The enzyme used is P. decumbens naringinase. C411–C415

Mussel “Outs” Enzymatic Browning in Some Fruit, Vegetable Pre-cuts

The paper “Polyphenol Oxidase Inhibitor from Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) Extract” describes the activity of the oxidase inhibitor expressed from the crustacean in reducing enzymatic browning in certain fruit and vegetable products, especially pre-cuts and juices. Apple, mushroom, and potato polyphenol oxidase (PPO) materials were inhibited, and the brown color caused by PPO was bleached. In some tests, inhibition of major amounts of the PPO was produced. The major active material in the Blue Mussel material was identified as hypotaurine, and it was compared with other known inhibitors. Blue Mussels are heavily farmed, and are available year round. C425–C431

Jujube Honey Is Characterized

The honey derived from the pollen of the jujube tree is considered especially desirable by the Chinese consumers, where the jujube, also called the Chinese date tree, is cultivated. The jujube tree, now offered for orchardists in other temperate countries, is heavily flowered, and produces an exceptionally sweet fruit that tastes something like a heavily-sugared apple. In “Jujube Honey from China: Physicochemical Characteristics and Mineral Contents”, scientists studied some 23 samples of jujube honey, finding considerable variation, depending on the geographic source of the pollen. The purpose of the study was to verify compliance with the European Union Council directive. The results indicated that, except for pH ranges, the samples of jujube honey was within the allowable range for most of the criteria for the principal physicochemical parameters, such as moisture, color, ash, pH, electrical conductivity, free acidity, lactonic acidity, total acidity, fructose, glucose, sucrose, diastase activity, and HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural). Contents were determined in jujube honey from different regions of China. The results indicated that “All of the values obtained fell within the maximum limits defined under current international legislation (Standard Codex and EU). Jujube honeys exhibited a significantly higher pH than the value allowed for most reported honeys. The mineral composition differed markedly between jujube honeys, but the levels of individual components were in most cases within the ranges known for natural honeys. Potassium was the most abundant mineral, amounting to 71% of the mean total mineral content and As, Cd, Ni, and Li were not detected in the samples.” C387–C394

Pricing Vanilla Scientifically

Because of the variation in flavor impact of vanilla beans from different regions of the world, the price ranges greatly. A great deal of work has been done on ways to evaluate the price of vanilla, and is reported in the paper: “The Use of Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence in the Identification of the Elemental Composition of Vanilla Samples and the Determination of the Geographic Origin by Discriminant Function Analysis”. By evaluating key elements using techniques developed for an accurate, fast evaluation, vanilla buyers can be sure that the price of a lot of vanilla is correct, and that lower grade materials are not mixed into lots. The evaluation was developed using 16 elements, based on 37 samples from a wide variety of growing areas. Use of 11 elements provided a model that provided 100% accuracy in placing samples from specific regions, and smaller models provide a high rate of accuracy in a shorter time. The instruments used can be automated and produce rapid throughput. C395–C401

Fast Test Identifies Cow's Milk in Foods

Chinese exports to the European Union depend on accurate labeling. Milk is 1 of the 12 allergenic ingredients whose presence has to be declared on the label of food products (European Commission 2006). In “A Simple and Fast Detection Method for Bovine Milk Residues in Foods: A 2-Site Monoclonal Antibody Immunochromatography Assay”, scientists have proposed an assay that identifies for β-lactoglobulin, assuring that labels are accurate. According to the research, “Milk protein traces extracted from 110 food products were detected by this method. The labels of 106 were confirmed by our GICA method: 57 food samples originally labeled as containing milk were positive and 49 food samples labeled as not containing milk were negative for β-lactoglobulin. However, 3 food samples falsely labeled as containing milk were found to contain no β-lactoglobulin whereas 1 food sample labeled as not containing milk actually contained β-lactoglobulin.” While China does not have a stringent labeling regulation concerning milk, manufacturers there must label foods according to the regulations of importing countries, using good, rapid methodology. M452–M457

Food or Dietary Supplements – Anthocyanin-Containing Materials Can Be Accurately Identified

Blueberry and bilberry products contain a very wide variety of anthocyanins, which deteriorate on storage. In “Degradation Index for Quality Evaluation of Commercial Dietary Supplements of Bilberry Extract”, a new method for assessing deterioration of these compounds, using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography instead of the usual spectrophotometric methods, is reported. The stability of 3 formulations and the quality of 20 supplements were investigated by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography, and their findings were reported. Stability of anthocyanins depends on storage temperature and formulation, according to the investigators, who present a “Degradation Index” (DI) as an indicator of the deterioration of supplements. S477–S483