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Special Issue "Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mingfu Wang

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Website | E-Mail
Interests: functional foods; traditional chinese herbal medicines; natural products; disease prevention; food chemistry and toxicology; maillard reaction; enzymatic browning and cosmetic chemistry
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Yueliang Zhao

College of Food Science and Technology, Shanghai Ocean University, No.999 Hu-Cheng-Huan Road, Shanghai 201306, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: functional foods and nutraceuticals; natural products and cancer; food chemistry and toxicology; agro-food quality control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural products are a rich source of biologically/pharmacologically-active compounds. Natural products have been used as food ingredients/additives to improve food quality, inhibit the formation of toxic compounds such as heterocyclic amines, acrylamide, AGEs, etc., and for their purported medical benefits. Their incorporation in foods may also raise some issues related to food safety and their health benefits. Under food processing, they may go through thermal degradation, be metabolized and turned into novel compounds during fermentation, and participate into complex reactions in food systems, such as maillard reaction, lipid peroxidation, and caramelization reaction subsequently inducing different toxicological/beneficial effects from what we are expecting.

This Special Issue on “Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients” welcomes original research and reviews on: (1) The safety and regulation of natural products used as foods and food ingredients as “poison is in everything, and nothing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy”. (2) The inhibitory effects and mechanisms of natural products on food toxic compounds formation during food storage/processing. (3) The benefical effects of natural products, such as improvement of food quality and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, cancers, etc. (4) The chemical and bioactivity change of nature products during food processing. (5) The release of natural products under different types of food processing.

Prof. Dr. Mingfu Wang
Prof. Dr. Yueliang Zhao

Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Natural products
  • Dietary supplements
  • Food ingredients
  • Safety and regulation
  • Food quality control
  • Health benefits
  • Chemical and bioactivity change
  • Release of nature products
  • Food processing.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Comparison of Physicochemical Properties of Starches from Flesh and Peel of Green Banana Fruit
Molecules 2018, 23(9), 2312; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092312
Received: 26 August 2018 / Revised: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
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Abstract
Green banana fruit is an important starch resource that consists of flesh and peel. The physicochemical properties of flesh starch have been widely studied; however, those of peel starch have hardly been studied, leading to the waste of peel. In this study, the
[...] Read more.
Green banana fruit is an important starch resource that consists of flesh and peel. The physicochemical properties of flesh starch have been widely studied; however, those of peel starch have hardly been studied, leading to the waste of peel. In this study, the physicochemical properties of the starches from the flesh and peel of green banana fruit were investigated and compared. The dry flesh and peel had 69.5% and 22.6% starch content, respectively. The starch had oval and irregular granules with eccentric hila. Their starches had similar bimodal size distribution; the volume-weighted mean diameter was approximate 17 μm, and the peel starch had a slightly smaller granule size than the flesh starch. The maximum absorption wavelength was higher in peel starch than in flesh starch. The apparent amylose content of flesh and peel starch was 21.3% and 25.7%, respectively. The flesh and peel starches both exhibited B-type crystalline structures and had similar relative crystallinity, short-range ordered degrees, and lamellar structures. The swelling power was similar between flesh and peel starches, but the water solubility was higher in peel starch than in flesh starch at 95 °C. The peel starch had a higher gelatinization temperature than flesh starch, but their gelatinization temperature range and enthalpy were similar. Both flesh and peel starches showed a diphasic hydrolysis dynamic, but peel starch had higher resistance to porcine pancreatic α-amylase hydrolysis than flesh starch. The contents of rapidly digestible starch, slowly digestible starch, and the resistant starch of flesh and peel were 1.7%, 4.3%, 94.1% and 1.4%, 3.4%, 95.2%, respectively, for native starch, and 73.0%, 5.1%, 21.9%, and 72.3%, 4.5%, 23.2%, respectively, for gelatinized starch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Dihydromyricetin as a Functional Additive to Enhance Antioxidant Capacity and Inhibit the Formation of Thermally Induced Food Toxicants in a Cookie Model
Molecules 2018, 23(9), 2184; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092184
Received: 29 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
Recently, there is a growing interest in fortifying food products with flavonoids to enhance health benefits. Naringenin, naringin, hesperetin, and dihydromyricetin are four typical flavonoids constituting a natural part of our diet. In the present work, they were fortified into a chia oil
[...] Read more.
Recently, there is a growing interest in fortifying food products with flavonoids to enhance health benefits. Naringenin, naringin, hesperetin, and dihydromyricetin are four typical flavonoids constituting a natural part of our diet. In the present work, they were fortified into a chia oil cookie model to evaluate their thermal stability during baking as well as their impact on antioxidant capacity and toxicant formation. Among them dihydromyricetin was the most unstable one (only 36.1% of which was left after baking at 180 °C for 20 min) and led to a loss of brightness in cookie. However, the antioxidant capacity of cookie fortified with dihydromyricetin was significantly enhanced compared with untreated cookie; on the other hand, dihydromyricetin showed the strongest effect to attenuate lipid and protein oxidation as well as decrease the level of fluorescent advanced glycation endproducts and carboxymethyl lysine in cookie model. Overall, among the four selected flavonoids, dihydromyricetin might be the most promising functional bakery additive enhancing the antioxidant capacity while decreasing the formation of toxicants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Different Isolation Media on Structural and Functional Properties of Starches from Root Tubers of Purple, Yellow and White Sweet Potatoes
Molecules 2018, 23(9), 2135; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092135
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 18 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
Different-colored sweet potatoes have different contents of pigments and phenolic compounds in their root tubers, which influence the isolation of starch. It is important to justify the identification of the most suitable isolation medium of starch from different colored root tubers. In this
[...] Read more.
Different-colored sweet potatoes have different contents of pigments and phenolic compounds in their root tubers, which influence the isolation of starch. It is important to justify the identification of the most suitable isolation medium of starch from different colored root tubers. In this study, starches were isolated from root tubers of purple, yellow and white sweet potatoes using four different extraction media, including H2O, 0.5% Na2S2O5, 0.2% NaOH, and both 0.5% Na2S2O5 and 0.2% NaOH. Their structural and functional properties were investigated and compared among different extraction media. The results showed that the granule size, apparent amylose content, lamellar peak intensity, thermal properties, and pasting properties were different among different-colored sweet potatoes due to their different genotype backgrounds. The four extraction media had no significant effects on starch structural properties, including apparent amylose content, crystalline structure, ordered degree, and lamellar peak intensity, except that the NaOH and Na2S2O5 treatment were able to increase the whiteness of purple and yellow sweet potato starches. The different extraction media had some effects on starch functional properties, including thermal properties, swelling power, water solubility, and pasting properties. The above results indicated that the H2O was the most suitable extraction medium to simply and fast isolate starch from root tubers of different-colored sweet potatoes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Physicochemical Properties of C-Type Starch from Root Tuber of Apios fortunei in Comparison with Maize, Potato, and Pea Starches
Molecules 2018, 23(9), 2132; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092132
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
The dry root tuber of Apios fortunei contained about 75% starch, indicating that it is an important starch resource. Starch displayed spherical, polygonal, and ellipsoidal granules with central hila. Granule sizes ranged from 3 to 30 μm with a 9.6 μm volume-weighted mean
[...] Read more.
The dry root tuber of Apios fortunei contained about 75% starch, indicating that it is an important starch resource. Starch displayed spherical, polygonal, and ellipsoidal granules with central hila. Granule sizes ranged from 3 to 30 μm with a 9.6 μm volume-weighted mean diameter. The starch had 35% apparent amylose content and exhibited CA-type crystalline structure with 25.9% relative crystallinity. The short-range ordered degree in the granule external region was approximately 0.65, and the lamellar thickness was approximately 9.6 nm. The swelling power and water solubility began to increase from 70 °C and reached 28.7 g/g and 10.8% at 95 °C. Starch had typical bimodal thermal curve in water with gelatinization temperatures from 61.8 to 83.9 °C. The 7% (w/w) starch-water slurry had peak, hot, breakdown, final, and setback viscosities of 1689, 1420, 269, 2103, and 683 mPa s, respectively. Rapidly digestible starch, slowly digestible starch, and resistant starch were 6.04%, 10.96%, and 83.00% in native starch; 83.16%, 15.23%, and 1.61% in gelatinized starch; and 78.13%, 17.88%, and 3.99% in retrograded starch, respectively. The above physicochemical properties of A. fortunei starch were compared with those of maize A-type starch, potato B-type starch, and pea C-type starch. The hierarchical cluster analysis based on starch structural and functional property parameters showed that A. fortunei and pea starches had similar physicochemical properties and were more related to maize starch than potato starch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Homogeneous Synthesis of Cationic Chitosan via New Avenue
Molecules 2018, 23(8), 1921; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23081921
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Using a solvent formed of alkali and urea, chitosan was successfully dissolved in a new solvent via the freezing–thawing process. Subsequently, quaternized chitosan (QC) was synthesized using 3-chloro-2-hydroxypropyl trimethyl ammonium chloride (CHPTAC) as the cationic reagent under different incubation times and temperatures in
[...] Read more.
Using a solvent formed of alkali and urea, chitosan was successfully dissolved in a new solvent via the freezing–thawing process. Subsequently, quaternized chitosan (QC) was synthesized using 3-chloro-2-hydroxypropyl trimethyl ammonium chloride (CHPTAC) as the cationic reagent under different incubation times and temperatures in a homogeneous system. QCs cannot be synthesized at temperatures above 60 °C, as gel formation will occur. The structure and properties of the prepared QC were characterized and quaternary groups were comfirmed to be successfully incorporated onto chitosan backbones. The degree of substitution (DS) ranged from 16.5% to 46.8% and the yields ranged from 32.6% to 89.7%, which can be adjusted by changing the molar ratio of the chitosan unit to CHPTAC and the reaction time. QCs inhibits the growth of Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris effectively. Thus, this work offers a simple and green method of functionalizing chitosan and producing quaternized chitosan with an antibacterial effect for potential applications in the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Ascorbic Acid and Glucosinolate Levels in New Czech Cabbage Cultivars: Effect of Production System and Fungal Infection
Molecules 2018, 23(8), 1855; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23081855
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
Nutritional value and disease-preventive effects of cabbage are well-known. Levels of the antioxidant compounds ascorbic acid (AA) and glucosinolates (GSL) in new Czech cabbage cultivars were determined in the context of different production systems. The contents of AA and GSLs in cabbage biomass
[...] Read more.
Nutritional value and disease-preventive effects of cabbage are well-known. Levels of the antioxidant compounds ascorbic acid (AA) and glucosinolates (GSL) in new Czech cabbage cultivars were determined in the context of different production systems. The contents of AA and GSLs in cabbage biomass were determined by HPLC. Individual GSLs were identified according to their exact masses with sinigrin used as the external standard. Artificial infection with A. brassicicola generally raised the AA levels. The major GSLs (≥10 mg kg−1) were glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and glucoiberin. Indole and aliphatic GSLs were present, but no aromatic ones were detected. Ecological growth conditions and the artificial fungal infection increased the total content of GSLs and, also, of the methoxylated indole GSLs. Sulforaphane, iberin, indole-3-carbinol, and ascorbigen resulting from the hydrolysis of GSLs were found in both cultivars. The amounts and profiles of GSLs present in the two Czech cultivars demonstrated their good nutritional value. The decomposition products sulforaphane, iberin, indole-3-carbinol, and ascorbigen detected improve its health-promoting qualities and represent a suitable component of the human diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Seasonal Variation and Possible Biosynthetic Pathway of Ginsenosides in Korean Ginseng Panax ginseng Meyer
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071824
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Whereas Korean ginseng, Panax ginseng Meyer, is harvested in the fall, the variation of ginsenoside content in field-grown ginseng across seasonal development has never been investigated in Korea. Thus, ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) analysis of nine major ginsenosides, including ginsenoside Rg1, Re,
[...] Read more.
Whereas Korean ginseng, Panax ginseng Meyer, is harvested in the fall, the variation of ginsenoside content in field-grown ginseng across seasonal development has never been investigated in Korea. Thus, ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) analysis of nine major ginsenosides, including ginsenoside Rg1, Re, Rf, Rg2, Rb1, Rc, Rb2, Rd, and Ro, in the roots of five-year-old P. ginseng cultivated in Bongwha, Korea in 2017 was performed. The total ginsenoside content changed as many as three times throughout the year, ranging from 1.37 ± 0.02 (dry wt %) in January to 4.26 ± 0.03% in May. Total ginsenoside content in the harvest season was 2.49 ± 0.03%. Seasonal variations of panaxadiol-type ginsenosides (PPD) and panaxatriol-type ginsenosides (PPT) were found to be similar, but more PPD was always measured. However, the seasonal variation of oleanolic acid-type ginsenoside, Ro, was different from that of PPD and PPT, and the highest Ro content was observed in May. The ratio of PPD/PPT, as well as other representative ginsenosides, was compared throughout the year. Moreover, the percent composition of certain ginsenosides in both PPD and PPT types was found to be in a complementary relationship each other, which possibly reflected the biosynthetic pathway of the related ginsenosides. This finding would not only provide scientific support for the production and quality control of the value-added ginseng products, but also facilitate the elucidation of the ginsenoside biosynthetic pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Physicochemical Properties of Lutein-Loaded Microcapsules and Their Uptake via Caco-2 Monolayers
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1805; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071805
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Lutein is one of the most important carotenoids that can be utilized in foods as a natural pigment and nutraceutical ingredient to improve eye health. However, its utilization is limited due to its poor solubility. Chemically, the highly unsaturated structure of lutein makes
[...] Read more.
Lutein is one of the most important carotenoids that can be utilized in foods as a natural pigment and nutraceutical ingredient to improve eye health. However, its utilization is limited due to its poor solubility. Chemically, the highly unsaturated structure of lutein makes it extremely susceptible to light, oxygen, heat, and pro-oxidants and therefore easily oxidized, decomposed or dissociated. In this study, we aimed to imbed natural lutein to improve its storage stability and enhance its water dispersibility. As two commonly studied water-soluble and water-insoluble food-grade surfactants, sodium caseinate (NaCas) and lecithin were chosen as the wall materials, and lutein-loaded lecithin microcapsules and NaCas microcapsules were prepared, the results revealed the lutein-loaded NaCas microcapsules not only exhibited better dispersibility and stability than those of lutein-loaded lecithin microcapsules, but also were more stable when stored at 4 °C, 25 °C, 37 °C. Moreover, the lutein-loaded NaCas microcapsules were more easily absorbed by the intestinal Caco-2 cells than natural lutein. Considering the dispersibility, stability and cell absorption effect, the NaCas-based microparticle is a potential carrier for lutein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Phytotoxic Activity of Metabolites Isolated from Rutstroemia sp.n., the Causal Agent of Bleach Blonde Syndrome on Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1734; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071734
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
PDF Full-text (1392 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
A fungal pathogen soon to be described as Rutstroemia capillus-albis (Rutstroemiaceae, Helotiales, Leotiomycetes) has been identified as the causal agent of ‘bleach blonde syndrome’ on the invasive annual grass weed Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) in western North America. This apparently common but previously undescribed
[...] Read more.
A fungal pathogen soon to be described as Rutstroemia capillus-albis (Rutstroemiaceae, Helotiales, Leotiomycetes) has been identified as the causal agent of ‘bleach blonde syndrome’ on the invasive annual grass weed Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) in western North America. This apparently common but previously undescribed disease causes premature senescence and sterility, but does not affect seed germination or seedling emergence and growth. This study investigated whether the new species produces phytotoxins that could be implicated in pathogenesis. The compounds 9-O-methylfusarubin, 9-O-methylbostrycoidin, 5-O-methylnectriafurone, trans-methyl-p-coumarate and terpestacin were isolated from the solid culture of this fungus. The undescribed absolute stereochemistry at C-3 of 9-O-methylfusarubin and at C-1’ of 5-O-methylnectriafurone were assigned by applying electronic and vibrational circular dichroism (ECD and VCD) combined with computational methods and the advanced Mosher’s method, respectively. The first three listed compounds are naphtoquinone pigments, while terpestacin is a sesterterpene, and trans-methyl-p-coumarate could be the product of an unusual fungal phenylpropanoid biosynthesis pathway. In a juvenile plant immersion bioassay, both 9-O-methylfusarubin and terpestacin proved to be highly toxic at 10−4 M, causing wilting and plant death within 10 days. This finding suggests that these two compounds could play a role in pathogenesis on B. tectorum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Protein Hydrolysates’ Absorption Characteristics in the Dynamic Small Intestine In Vivo
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071591
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 26 June 2018 / Published: 29 June 2018
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Abstract
Background: Dietary proteins are known for their wide range of nutritional, functional and biological properties. Although the total amount of proteins may be obtained from mixtures, its “availability” for absorption in the gut is in many cases quite uncertain or even varies
[...] Read more.
Background: Dietary proteins are known for their wide range of nutritional, functional and biological properties. Although the total amount of proteins may be obtained from mixtures, its “availability” for absorption in the gut is in many cases quite uncertain or even varies for the same food depending on processing conditions, the presence of other components, and so on. Methods: To obtain accurate protein hydrolysate absorption data, we have developed a small intestine model (SIM) to test them. Results: The results indicated that the protein hydrolysates were absorbed rapidly during the first 15 min, and then decreased to 90 min, then they were absorbed again from 90 min to the endpoint. The protein absorption was also affected by the protein processing method used. The Enzyme + Ultrasound (EU) processing method group had a higher absorption rate than the Enzyme (E) processing method group, and the absorption of the Enzyme + Artificial gastric juice processing method (EH) and Enzyme + Ultrasound + Artificial gastric juice processing method (EUH) groups was reduced compared to the E group alone. The amino acid analysis results showed that the amino acids were reduced and absorbed by our SIM in almost all groups except for cysteine and methionine. In general, the Pearson relation value of the amino acid contents between before SIM and after SIM was 0.887, which indicated that single amino acid absorption was mainly related to its content in the whole amino acids. The single amino acid absorption ratio among different groups also displayed differences, which ranged from 31% to 46% (E group from 39% to 42%; EU group from 40% to 47%; EH group from 31% to 39%; EUH group from 35% to 41%). Conclusions: The protein hydrolysates’ varied from startpoint to endpoint, and the protein absorption was affected by processing method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Nutritional Components in Black Sesame Determined by Widely Targeted Metabolomics and Traditional Chinese Medicines
Molecules 2018, 23(5), 1180; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23051180
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
PDF Full-text (1636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Chemical composition of secondary metabolites is of great importance for quality control of agricultural products. Black sesame seeds are significantly more expensive than white sesame seeds, because it is thought that black sesame seeds are more beneficial to human health than white sesame
[...] Read more.
Chemical composition of secondary metabolites is of great importance for quality control of agricultural products. Black sesame seeds are significantly more expensive than white sesame seeds, because it is thought that black sesame seeds are more beneficial to human health than white sesame seeds. However, the differences in nutrient composition between black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds are still unknown. The current study examined the levels of different metabolites in black and white sesame seeds via the use of a novel metabolomics strategy. Using widely targeted metabolomics data, we obtained the structure and content of 557 metabolites, out of which 217 metabolites were identified, and discovered 30 metabolic pathways activated by the secondary metabolites in both black and white sesame seeds. Our results demonstrated that the main pathways that were differentially activated included: phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, tyrosine metabolism, and riboflavin metabolism. More importantly, the biomarkers that were significantly different between black seeds and white sesame seeds are highly related to the functions recorded in traditional Chinese medicine. The results of this study may serve as a new theoretical reference for breeding experts to promote the genetic improvement of sesame seeds, and therefore the cultivation of higher quality sesame varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products Used as Foods and Food Ingredients)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Evaluation of antioxidant capacity and putative healthy effects of natural products using soybean lipoxygenase-based methods. An overview
Article type: Review
Author: Maura N. Laus, Mario Soccio and Donato Pastore
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