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Nothing is ever as simple as we think it should be. And finding out that something isn't simple is pretty constant. Folk medicine is a source of starting places sometimes, but without the testing methods and instrumentation, the reasons that folk remedies work or don't work is usually complicated and requires a lot of unraveling. These papers include a lot of information that allows food scientists to unravel the truth faster, if they are careful and don't assume the unassumable.

Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

Ginsenosides are phytochemicals, specifically saponins, and are generally considered to be the active ingredients in ginseng. They are thought to be responsible for the cardioprotective, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and neuroprotective qualities of the saponins. The phytochemicals vary between the different ginseng varieties: white ginseng (WG), red ginseng (RG), and dali ginseng. The roots of these 3 types look similar, and some of the phytochemicals are similar also, but the uses and effectiveness vary. In “Profiling the Ginsenosides of Three Ginseng Products by Lc-Q-Tof/Ms”, research activities have resulted in development of a practical method based on rapid liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF/MS), which can be used to identify the chemical profiles of ginsenosides in these 3 ginseng products. The authors concluded: “The heating processing caused demalonylation and dehydration of initial ginsenoside metabolites in WG. The heating time and temperature may influence the result of conversion. For the first time, the chemical profiles of DG were investigated by the established LC-Q-TOF-MS/MS method and profiled based on the chemical fingerprint UV-MS chromatography. This chemical information associated with the pharmacological action in different ginseng products could be useful for the guidance of clinical use, as well as the references of quality assessment.” C653–C659

Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

Generally, the addition or treatment of food with sawdust can lead to arrest for economic adulteration— or at least that used to be the case. However, in the paper titled “Potential of Sawdust as a Green and Economical Sorbent for Simultaneous Preconcentration of Trace Amounts of Cadmium, Cobalt, and Lead from Water, Biological, Food, and Herbal Samples” shows promise for the use of treated sawdust as a sorbent for heavy metals from food and water, as well as other similar uses. The researchers treated sawdust with NAOH, and found that trace elements of cadmium, cobalt, and iron were removed from liver, lettuce, fish, and water. After the heavy metals were absorbed into the sawdust, it was removed using mixed solutions of ethanol and HNO3-HCl. While the sawdust trick works on all 3 heavy metals, it is most effective in removing lead. T797–T804

Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

A few years ago, papers were published that showed that green tea catechins were unstable and degradable in alkaline solution, but stable in acidic solution. Several studies revealed that the addition of ascorbic acid and sucrose may improve catechin solubility, thereby enhancing the bioaccessibility of the phytochemical. In “Green Tea Formulations with Vitamin C and Xylitol on Enhanced Intestinal Transport of Green Tea Catechins”, a group of researchers took improving green tea catechins to the next level, by enhancing the products with vitamin C and xylitol, adding the vital vitamin without spiking the sugar content. Both additives enhanced transport of catechin and gallated catechins via intestinal cell. A number of researchers have reported on the anticancer activity of the polyphenols; antiplatelet aggregation activity and other diseases may be affected as well. The researchers concluded “Intestinal transport of both gallated and nongallated catechins in green tea was enhanced by the formulation with vitamin C and xylitol. A 10 ppm of vitamin C, 20 ppm of vitamin C with 49.5 ppm of xylitol, 20 ppm of vitamin C with 49.5 ppm of xylitol, and 20 ppm of vitamin C with 49.5 ppm of xylitol formulation for EC, ECG, EGC, and EGCG, respectively, showed 8, 2, 2.4 times, and 1.9 times higher intestinal transport than EC, ECG, EGC, EGCG only formulations. Our results suggest that modulation of green tea drink formulation could enhance catechin intestinal absorption, resulting in increased biological activity for the human body.” The research was supported by the South Korean government. C685–C690

Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

According to fisherman friends, the triggerfish is of limited value because it is hard to skin. But the flesh is white, firm but tender, and somewhat sweet, and lends itself to culinary enhancement. Remembering how difficult it was to get Tilapia onto menus, triggerfish could become popular with some innovation in preparation techniques. The paper “Seasonal Variation in Proximate Composition and Fatty Acid Profile of Grey Triggerfish (Balistes Capriscus) Captured along the Coast of Portugal” indicates that the fish is lean – very low fat, but the fat is very high quality. So is the protein, with a minimum of seasonal variation.” C691–C695

Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

A sauce made from relatively unsweetened pomegranate arils has been found to eliminate a goodly number of foodborne bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923) and Escherichia coli. In the paper reporting the research, “Antimicrobial Effect of Sour Pomegranate Sauce on Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus”, researchers identified that there was more activity against be bacteria than would be explained by the low pH alone. Pomegranate sauces have been used as a condiment on food in the Turkish area. Traditionally: it is made in the home as well as commercially, and the researchers wanted to find out whether the commercial material was more or less effective in killing the bacteria. It was found that inhibitory effect of the traditional and the commercial samples, except for one sample, on pathogens was considerable on test microorganisms. The traditional pomegranate sauce samples were more effective than the commercial ones. Why? The researchers aren't sure. But pomegranate products have claimed effectiveness against a number of ills. Possibly, the large number of antioxidants may have an effect. But the researchers left subject matter for new studies, and we'll expect to see more research following this exploratory report. M715–M718

Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

The vegetarian, allergic, and nondairy eating styles have caused companies to look for probiotics that work their magic on juice drinks and nondairy products in general. In “Performance in Nondairy Drinks of Probiotic L. casei Strains Usually Employed in Dairy Products”, researchers report their work on determining cell viability and resistance to simulated gastric digestion of some of the commercially available lactobacillus strains that are generally used in dairy products. When used in nondairy drinks both. Lactobacillus casei LC-01 and L. casei BGP 93 produced 7 log reductions until the end of the storage period in at least 1 dairy beverage. The researchers found that an easy-to-apply in vitro tool that measures resistance to simulated gastric digestion may contribute to product characterization and may aid in developing products that are not dairy foods, but will keep the probiotic cultures healthy enough to perform as desired when consumed. M756–M762

Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

  1. Top of page
  2. Ginseng Roots Are Used in Folk Remedies—and Are Now Found to Have Seriously Effective Saponins
  3. Sawdust: A New, Green Method of Controlling Lead Contamination?
  4. Green Tea Is Good for You: Making It Better
  5. Grey Triggerfish Is a Possible Economically Valuable Fish during Times When Overfishing Is Occurring
  6. Pomegranate Sauce Beats Up on Foodborne Bacteria
  7. Selecting the Right Probiotic for Nondairy Foods
  8. Ice Cream Found to Be a Vector for Staphlococcus unless Care Is Taken

In “Determination of Enterotoxigenic and Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Ice Cream”, Turkish scientists uncovered a number of samples of commercially available ice creams that contained both types of Staphlocollus. The findings of MRSA in ice creams is (you may ignore the bad pun), especially chilling. S. aureus was identified in 18 of 56 fruity (32.1%), 4 of 32 vanilla (12.5%), and 1 of 12 chocolate (8.3%) ice creams. S. aureus was identified as 38 isolates in 23 ice cream samples by culture-based techniques, but only 35 isolates were confirmed by PCR as S. aureus. The research team concluded that “the fact that enterotoxigenic staphylococci isolated from samples generally originated from humans indicate that the hygiene of employees is not adequate.” Contact with contaminated food or consuming raw milk and dairy products containing MRSA could increase the risk of MRSA infections. It can be concluded that the application of the HACCP system is essential in companies producing ice cream. M738–M741