Special Issue "Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture"

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A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Muraleedharan G. Nair

Senior Associate to the Dean College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Professor, Department of Horticulture Michigan State University Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg. 1066 Bogue St., Room 420 East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 517 355 5191 x1406
Fax: +1 517 353 0890
Interests: bioactive natural products; Cancer; obesity; type-2 diabetes; inflammation; antioxidant; botanical drugs; phytomedicine; nutraceutical; functional food; herbal medicine; spices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The world population reached 7 billion recently and food is still a rare commodity for about 20% of the citizens live below global hunger index (GHI). Global food production is at all time high but problems surrounding pre- and post-harvest, storage and distribution mute such achievements. However, it is paradoxical where world is striving to provide food security to all, the 80% who consume food more than they need suffer from poor health and debilitating diseases.  Food, as we all know, is an integral part of staying alive, but it also plays a significant role in keeping one healthy with a better quality of life. For example, world population of all age groups suffers from obesity and type-2 diabetes.  Adult diabetes, type-2 diabetes, is one of the leading killers in the developed, developing and under-developed countries alike.  The most significant reason for the rise in diabetes is increased consumption of food with sedentary life style leading to obesity. In almost all cases, obesity leads to type-2 diabetes.
The consumption of phytochemicals including flavones, isoflavones, tannins, anthocyanins, betacyanins, chlorophyll, carotenoids, terpenoids, phytosterols, long-chain fatty acids and shorter-length polysaccharides as dietary ingredients have positive impact on the overall wellbeing and quality of life.  This has been demonstrated by researchers around the world by primarily using a series of in vitro bioassays.  Food and health are synonymous these days to many even in countries with less food security.  This is because of the belief that daily consumption of functional food, food containing beneficial bioactive natural products, delivers an effective dose of such non-nutritional components with potential to ameliorate debilitating diseases including cancer, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.  Fruits, vegetables, berries and other generally regarded as safe (GRAS) plants play an important role in filling this space occupied by functional foods.
Consumption of agricultural products with adequate amounts of bioactives will aid in the fight against obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.  Food security policy being enacted by governments should consider agricultural products that provide not only conventional nutrition but also functional food constituents in order to improve health and quality of life of their citizens.

Prof. Dr. Muraleedharan G. Nair
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • functional food
  • food security
  • bioactive natural products
  • agricultural commodities
  • novel food processing

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Fatty Acid, Flavonol, and Mineral Composition Variability among Seven Macrotyloma uniflorum (Lam.) Verdc. Accessions
Agriculture 2013, 3(1), 157-169; doi:10.3390/agriculture3010157
Received: 5 February 2013 / Revised: 25 February 2013 / Accepted: 26 February 2013 / Published: 14 March 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Horse gram [Macrotyloma uniflorum (Lam.) Verdc.] seeds containing high concentrations of fatty acids, flavonols and minerals should provide government, public and private organizations with a nutritious and healthy food for use by malnourished and food deprived people worldwide. Seeds from seven horse
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Horse gram [Macrotyloma uniflorum (Lam.) Verdc.] seeds containing high concentrations of fatty acids, flavonols and minerals should provide government, public and private organizations with a nutritious and healthy food for use by malnourished and food deprived people worldwide. Seeds from seven horse gram accessions, geographically adapted to Griffin, GA, USA were analyzed for fatty acid, flavonol, and mineral concentrations using gas chromatography, reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography, and inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy, respectively. Significant year effects occurred for stearic, oleic, linoleic, arachidic, gadoleic, and lignoceric acids. Oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acid ranged from 8.9%–16.8%, 40.3%–45.6%, and 11.6%–14.3%, respectively, as percent of total fatty acids measured (total oil ranged from 2.32% to 2.87%). Seed concentrations of myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol ranged from 0–36 μg/g DW, 0–27 μg/g DW, and 240–316 μg/g DW, respectively and the only year effect was observed for kaempferol among the horse gram accessions. Year effects were found for Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, and S. Mean concentrations of macrominerals (Ca, K, Mg, P, and S) and microminerals (Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Zn) ranged from 1.3–14 mg/g DW, and 1.0–95.0 μg/g DW, respectively. Several correlations were observed among several fatty acids, flavonols, and minerals. The mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid correlated significantly with linoleic acid (r = −0.64), arachidic acid (r = −0.61), Ca (r = 0.50) and Zn (r = 0.51, all at P < 0.01). The flavonol, myricetin correlated significantly with quercetin (r = 0.92, P < 0.0001), while quercetin correlated with Ca (r = 0.82, P < 0.0001) and kaempferol correlated with Mg (r = 0.61, P < 0.01). Several mineral correlations were found including Fe with K (r = 0.66) and Mg (r = 0.56, both at P < 0.01). These seven horse gram accessions can be used in breeding programs to facilitate the production of superior cultivars with favorable fatty acid profiles, flavonol content, and mineral compositions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Addition of Fish Oil to Cream Cheese Affects Lipid Oxidation, Sensory Stability and Microstructure
Agriculture 2012, 2(4), 359-375; doi:10.3390/agriculture2040359
Received: 12 September 2012 / Revised: 15 October 2012 / Accepted: 16 October 2012 / Published: 12 November 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the differences in the oxidative stability during storage of fish oil enriched cream cheeses when fish oil was added either as neat oil or pre-emulsified oil with sodium caseinate, whey protein isolate, or a combination
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The objective of this study was to investigate the differences in the oxidative stability during storage of fish oil enriched cream cheeses when fish oil was added either as neat oil or pre-emulsified oil with sodium caseinate, whey protein isolate, or a combination of milk proteins and phospholipids as emulsifier. Results showed that the addition of fish oil decreased the oxidative stability of cream cheeses regardless of the addition method, especially when the cheese was stored longer than five weeks. The oxidative stability of fish oil enriched cream cheeses was highest when fish oil was added as neat oil or in a delivery emulsion prepared with a combination of milk proteins and phospholipids. Adding the fish oil in a delivery emulsion prepared with whey protein or caseinate resulted in a less oxidative stable product. It was furthermore shown that the microstructure of the cream cheeses was affected by fish oil addition, and it was suggested that the change in microstructure was partly responsible for the oxidative stability of the cream cheeses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Stability of Chokeberry Bioactive Polyphenols during Juice Processing and Stabilization of a Polyphenol-Rich Material from the By-Product
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 244-258; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030244
Received: 7 August 2012 / Revised: 27 August 2012 / Accepted: 7 September 2012 / Published: 20 September 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are nowadays believed to exhibit potential cardioprotective and antidiabetic effects principally due to their high content in bioactive phenolic compounds. The stability of the phenolic compounds was studied during different stages of a juice production line and a
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Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are nowadays believed to exhibit potential cardioprotective and antidiabetic effects principally due to their high content in bioactive phenolic compounds. The stability of the phenolic compounds was studied during different stages of a juice production line and a method for the valorization of pomace was evaluated. Samples were taken from a commercial juice production plant, extracted and analyzed for phenolic constituents and antioxidant potential. Prototypes of functional food ingredients were produced from the pomace by wet milling and micro-milling. Alongside juice processing, the contents of phenolic berry constituents did not vary to a great extent and the overall antioxidant activity increased by about 34%. A high quality juice and a by-product still rich in polyphenols resulted from the process. The phenolic compounds content and the overall antioxidant activity remained stable when milling and micro-milling the pomace. During coarse milling, extractability of total phenolic compounds increased significantly (40% to 50%). Nanosized materials with averaged particle sizes (x50,0) of about 90 nm were obtained by micro-milling. These materials showed significantly enhanced extractability of total phenolic compounds (25%) and total phenolic acid (30%), as well as antioxidant activity (35%), with unchanged contents of total procyanidins and anthocyanins contents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)

Review

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Open AccessReview Green Tea as an Agricultural Based Health Promoting Food: The Past Five to Ten Years
Agriculture 2012, 2(4), 393-413; doi:10.3390/agriculture2040393
Received: 5 September 2012 / Revised: 16 November 2012 / Accepted: 20 November 2012 / Published: 5 December 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (528 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The consumption of tea originated in ancient China over 4000 years ago and is currently the second most popular beverage in the world after water. Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
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The consumption of tea originated in ancient China over 4000 years ago and is currently the second most popular beverage in the world after water. Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The link between tea intake, most notably green tea, and health has resulted in intense research on the components responsible for preventing the onset of several chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, cancer, obesity and diabetes. In particular, the high levels of chemically diverse phenols (e.g., phenolic acids, flavonoids) present in tea exhibit potent protective properties against many of these diseases. Although health related research on green tea and its predominant phenol (catechins) has been on-going for decades, major advances have occurred in the last 5–10 years. Therefore, this review focuses on seminal studies reported primarily within the last five years but not extending past ten years on the link between health and green tea with an emphasis on the catechins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)
Open AccessReview Functional Food and Organic Food are Competing Rather than Supporting Concepts in Europe
Agriculture 2012, 2(4), 316-324; doi:10.3390/agriculture2040316
Received: 24 July 2012 / Revised: 1 October 2012 / Accepted: 8 October 2012 / Published: 17 October 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A review of recent literature pertaining to organic and functional food was conducted according its conceptual background. Functional and organic food both belong to fast growing segments of the European food market. Both are food according to the European food regulations, but organic
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A review of recent literature pertaining to organic and functional food was conducted according its conceptual background. Functional and organic food both belong to fast growing segments of the European food market. Both are food according to the European food regulations, but organic food is further regulated by the European regulation for organic agriculture and food production. This regulation restricts the number of food additives and limits substantial changes in the food. This may cause problems in changing the food based on single constituents or attributes when applying the concept of functional food to organic food production. Claims of the influence of the food positively on health can only be accepted as true when the claims have been tested and then validated by the EU-Commission. Whereas functional food focuses on product comparison based on specific constituents or attributes, organic food as a whole has no placebo for comparison and effects on environment and society are not part of the health claim regulation. Therefore it seems rather difficult to establish the health claims of organic foods. Consumers buy organic food out of an emotional attitude and associate the food with naturalness. In contrast, the decision for buying functional food is related to rationality and consumers associate functional food with a more technological approach. For this reason, the authors conclude that the concept of functional food seems not to support organic food production in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)
Open AccessReview An Alternative Use of Horticultural Crops: Stressed Plants as Biofactories of Bioactive Phenolic Compounds
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 259-271; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030259
Received: 1 August 2012 / Revised: 13 September 2012 / Accepted: 14 September 2012 / Published: 24 September 2012
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Plants subjected to abiotic stresses synthesize secondary metabolites with potential application in the functional foods, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and agrochemical markets. This approach can be extended to horticultural crops. This review describes previous reports regarding the effect of different postharvest abiotic stresses
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Plants subjected to abiotic stresses synthesize secondary metabolites with potential application in the functional foods, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and agrochemical markets. This approach can be extended to horticultural crops. This review describes previous reports regarding the effect of different postharvest abiotic stresses on the accumulation of phenolic compounds. Likewise, the physiological basis for the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds as an abiotic stress response is described. The information presented herein would be useful for growers and the fresh produce market which are interested in finding alternative uses for their crops, especially for those not meeting quality standards and thus are considered as waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)

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