Special Issue "Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Quality and Safety".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. João C.M. Barreira
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Centro de Investigação de Montanha CIMO, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, P-5300253 Bragança, Portugal
Interests: food chemistry; bioactivity; natural product chemistry; bioactive compounds; chemometrics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the most recent trends associated to innovative food products regards the reduction/elimination of artificial additives and their substitution with bio-based compounds. The main reason for such a tendency is not related with effectiveness or safety, since all compounds that are legally accepted as food additives fulfil strict requirements and continuous assessment. In turn, natural-based compounds are generally preferred due to their widely recognized health benefits, which cannot be found among their artificial counterparts. Likewise, the consumers’ concerns towards the ecological impact of the food industry are generally appeased by the employment of natural-based additives, as these are achievable from renewable sources (e.g., plants, mushrooms, or seaweeds) and without implying such high volumes of hazardous chemicals and solvents.

Furthermore, natural-based ingredients often include more than one bioactive molecule, providing synergistic effects that cannot be achieved otherwise. Nevertheless, these compounds that can be directly obtained from natural sources present some technological limitations, mostly associated to their poor stability under different processing conditions. Accordingly, this Special Issue is mainly focused on critical aspects associated to the whole production chain of bio-based compounds, inviting researchers to contribute with original research or review articles focusing on particular aspects such as:

  • Natural species with highest potential as sources of bio-based food additives;
  • Optimized extraction/purification technologies;
  • Structural elucidation of isolated compounds;
  • Stabilization of bioactive compounds;
  • Protected delivery technologies;
  • Development of innovative food formulations;
  • Interaction among shelf-life conditions and overall quality;
  • Consumers’ acceptance studies.

Dr. João C.M. Barreira
Prof. Isabel C.F.R. Ferreira
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. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Bio-based food additives
  • Extraction/purification technologies
  • Molecular structure elucidation
  • Stabilization techniques
  • Innovative food formulations
  • Consumers’ acceptance

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Effect of Structurally Different Pectin on Dough Rheology, Structure, Pasting and Water Distribution Properties of Partially Meat-Based Sugar Snap Cookies
Foods 2021, 10(11), 2692; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10112692 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 494
Abstract
Pectin has been widely used as a hydrocolloid in foods, but its effectiveness based on hydrodynamics radius (Rh), average side chain length (ACL) and degree of esterification (DE) has been less studied. This study investigated the effect of 4 types of pectin (with [...] Read more.
Pectin has been widely used as a hydrocolloid in foods, but its effectiveness based on hydrodynamics radius (Rh), average side chain length (ACL) and degree of esterification (DE) has been less studied. This study investigated the effect of 4 types of pectin (with different molecular weight and structures) at a level of 1.5% w/w of wheat flour on functional, structural and water binding properties of sugar snap cookies partially substituted with fish meat. The results showed that pectin (CU-201 and CU-601) with higher ACL and Rh controlled excessive expansion, while the improved rheology of dough in terms of behavior as viscous matrix compared to control and other pectin. Texture was found to be highly dependent on Rh and ACL compared to DE of pectin. The pasting properties, especially peak viscosity and final viscosity, were significantly (p < 0.05) increased with increasing DE, as well as ACL, by entangling and increasing the interaction between starch and pectin. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis exhibited that control sample showed wide voids and more intercellular spaces, while samples prepared with CU-601, CU-201, and CUL displayed compact structure, which was also evidenced by controlled expansion and improved hardness of the cookies. Low field nuclear magnetic resonance (LF-NMR) analysis showed that T21 relaxation time and amplitude were found to be shorter for CU-601 and CU-201 treatments, signifying the high amount of tightly bound water compared to control. The findings endorse the feasibility of adding CU-601, and CU-201 as an efficient hydrocolloid for the improved structural and functional properties of cookies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Article
Chemical and Bioactive Characterization of Spanish and Belgian Apple Pomace for Its Potential Use as a Novel Dermocosmetic Formulation
Foods 2021, 10(8), 1949; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10081949 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 728
Abstract
Currently, there is a general trend towards reutilizing industrial by-products that would otherwise be discarded or considered as waste, aiming to explore them as alternative sources of valuable compounds. The apple pomace remaining from cider and apple juice industries represents a high-potential source [...] Read more.
Currently, there is a general trend towards reutilizing industrial by-products that would otherwise be discarded or considered as waste, aiming to explore them as alternative sources of valuable compounds. The apple pomace remaining from cider and apple juice industries represents a high-potential source of bioactive compounds with putative application in food or pharmaceutical-related products. Accordingly, the work reported herein was conducted to characterize the phenolic compounds in apple pomace from Belgium and Spain, as well as to evaluate its chemical composition and particular types of bioactivity. As a proof of concept, a new hydrogel was prepared, incorporated with the bioactive compounds and pectin extracted from apple pomace, aiming to obtain the most organic formulation possible. Independently of the extracting agent, it became evident that using lyophilization as the drying step is a better choice than thermal processes as it yielded a richer phenolic profile (fifteen individual compounds), with 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid as the major compound (66 to 114 mg/100 g dw) in Belgian samples. In general, the hydroethanolic extracts showed the strongest antioxidant and antimicrobial (particularly against Propionibacterium acnes: MIC = 2.5 mg/mL) activities. This result, together with the lipid nature of human skin, led it to be chosen as the extract type to be incorporated in the hydrogel. In general, apple pomace stood out as a valuable source of bioactive compounds, especially polyphenols and pectin, with good potential to be incorporated in dermal formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
Article
Arthrospira platensis as Natural Fermentation Booster for Milk and Soy Fermented Beverages
Foods 2020, 9(3), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9030350 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1964
Abstract
Arthrospira platensis, commercially known as Spirulina, is a fresh-water cyanobacterium that has been gaining increasing attention in recent years due to its high biological and nutritional value. For this reason, it has been employed in several food applications, to obtain or enhance functional [...] Read more.
Arthrospira platensis, commercially known as Spirulina, is a fresh-water cyanobacterium that has been gaining increasing attention in recent years due to its high biological and nutritional value. For this reason, it has been employed in several food applications, to obtain or enhance functional and technological properties of cheese, yogurt, bread, cookies or pasta. The aim of this work was to evaluate the potential boosting effect of two different concentrations (0.25% and 0.50% w/v) of A. platensis on the fermentation capability of several starter lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains, 1 probiotic and 4 commercial mix culture. These strains were used to ferment three different substrates and their fermentation behaviors were evaluated by impedance analyses together with rheological and color measurements. In tryptic soy broth (TSB), the A. platensis boosting effect was significantly higher if compared to yeast extract for all the starter LAB strains except for Lb. casei, which was equally stimulated. Different results were found when the same LAB strains were cultivated in SSM. The most evident boosting effect was found for S. thermophilus and Lb. casei. LAB growth was promoted by A. platensis, confirming that it could be a useful tool in the production of novel functional fermented dairy foods. The potential boosting effect was evaluated on four commercial mix cultures used to produce milk and soy fermented beverages. It was demonstrated that the booster effect took place, but it was variable and dependent not only on the mix culture used, but also on the substrate and A. platensis concentration. Also, rheological and color modifications were found to be dependent on these factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Article
Utilization of Carob Fruit as Sources of Phenolic Compounds with Antioxidant Potential: Extraction Optimization and Application in Food Models
Foods 2020, 9(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9010020 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1637
Abstract
The goal of this study was to explore the potential of carob extracts to act as lipid inhibitors in model food systems. First, the extraction efficacy of fourteen solvents on the phenolic and flavonoid contents as well as on the antioxidant activity was [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to explore the potential of carob extracts to act as lipid inhibitors in model food systems. First, the extraction efficacy of fourteen solvents on the phenolic and flavonoid contents as well as on the antioxidant activity was assessed. Results showed that the phenolic composition and antioxidant activity of the extracts were strongly affected by solvents. Subsequently, the antioxidant potential of the most promising extracts (water, methanol, acidic acetone, and acetone–water) against four model food systems were evaluated. The acidic acetone extract had the highest antioxidant activity (70.3 ± 5.3%) in the β-carotene-linoleic acid system, followed by the acetone–water extract (62.1 ± 4.9%). Both extracts significantly prevented the lipid oxidation in sunflower oil and cooked comminuted pork; the inhibition activity at the end of storage period was 36.7–50.5% and 17.4–24.8%, respectively. A reduction of 49.5–54.8% in the formation of dienes in the oil-in-water emulsion was also found. The inhibitory effect of methanolic and aqueous extracts was significantly lower. Qualitative and quantitative variations in extracts are responsible for this antioxidant behavior in food systems. Gallic acid, myrecetin, rutin, and catechin are the main components of the extracts while myricetin and quercetin play an essential role in the antioxidant activity, according to the biochromatograms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Article
Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Potential of Phenolic Metabolites from Traditionally Used Mediterranean Herbs and Spices
Foods 2019, 8(11), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8110579 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1714
Abstract
The phenolic extracts of fifteen Mediterranean medicinal plants, as well as their antioxidant and antimicrobial activities were investigated to grade their potential as additives in the food industry. Phenolic profiles of plant extracts were determined spectrophotometrically (total phenolics and phenolic subgroups) while individual [...] Read more.
The phenolic extracts of fifteen Mediterranean medicinal plants, as well as their antioxidant and antimicrobial activities were investigated to grade their potential as additives in the food industry. Phenolic profiles of plant extracts were determined spectrophotometrically (total phenolics and phenolic subgroups) while individual compounds were identified using chromatographic assays. The biological activity of samples was determined using five antioxidant assays, while the antibacterial potential was determined against six foodborne pathogens (Camplyobacter coli, Escherichia coli, Salmonela Infantis, Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus). The results showed significant variations in phenolic profile of plants and consequently their biological activity. Bearberry contained the highest concentration of phenolics, was extremely rich in non-flavonoids and also had the highest amount of catechins that resulted with good reducing and free radical scavenging properties and low chelating activity. All extracts were not effective against tested microorganisms with Gram-positive bacteria being more sensitive (especially S. aureus). The most effective extracts were St. Johns wort against S. aureus with minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1.00 mg/mL), bay laurel and nettle against B. cereus (MICs of 1.67 mg/mL), and woodland strawberry against L. monocytogenes (MIC of 3.33 mg/mL). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Article
Edible Leafy Vegetables from West Africa (Guinea-Bissau): Consumption, Trade and Food Potential
Foods 2019, 8(10), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8100493 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1378
Abstract
Wild Edible Plants are common in the diet of rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa. In Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, wild plant resources are widely used in human diet, but very few studies have addressed them. The aim of this study is to reveal: (1) [...] Read more.
Wild Edible Plants are common in the diet of rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa. In Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, wild plant resources are widely used in human diet, but very few studies have addressed them. The aim of this study is to reveal: (1) the wild and semi-cultivated leafy vegetables consumed in Guinea-Bissau; and (2) the nutritional composition of those plants traded at the largest country market in Bissau. Our results revealed that 24 native or naturalized species with edible leaves are currently consumed by Guinea-Bissau population. Five of them were found at the market: dried leaves of Adansonia digitata, Bombax costatum and Sesamum radiatum, and fresh leaves and shoots of Amaranthus hybridus and Hibiscus sabdariffa. The analysis of the nutritional properties revealed that leaves contain a significant amount of protein (10.1–21.0 g/100 g, dry basis), high values of macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as of phenolic compounds (13.1–40.3 mg GAE/g) and a considerable antioxidant capacity (DPPH 111.5–681.9 mg Eq Trolox). Although price and availability vary among the leafy vegetables analyzed, these traditional foods appear to be a good dietary component that can contribute to food security in Guinea-Bissau and in other West African countries, as these species are widely distributed in this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Article
Simple and Efficient Green Extraction of Steviol Glycosides from Stevia rebaudiana Leaves
Foods 2019, 8(9), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8090402 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1386
Abstract
The food industry has currently shown great interest in alternative sweeteners to sugars with the aim of producing healthier products. In light of this, steviol glycosides are natural low-caloric sweeteners present in Stevia rebaudiana, which have additionally been described as bioactive components [...] Read more.
The food industry has currently shown great interest in alternative sweeteners to sugars with the aim of producing healthier products. In light of this, steviol glycosides are natural low-caloric sweeteners present in Stevia rebaudiana, which have additionally been described as bioactive components with potential therapeutic properties. In this work, a green method for the extraction of steviol glycosides from stevia leaves was optimized by applying a factorial screening design of five variables (time, temperature, agitation, grinding, and sample–solvent ratio) and the subsequent response surface design of Box-Behnken. The optimized extraction method allows for the recovery of stevia sweeteners in a simple and efficient manner by using tap water as the extractant, without the application of an auxiliary energy source to reduce costs, thus representing an interesting strategy for their industrial-scale production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Article
The Influence of Colorants, Flavorants and Product Identity on Perceptions of Naturalness
Foods 2019, 8(8), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8080317 - 04 Aug 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
Natural foods are important to consumers, yet frustrating to producers due to the lack of a formal definition of “natural”. Previous work has studied how consumers define naturalness and how they rate the naturalness of various products, but there is a gap in [...] Read more.
Natural foods are important to consumers, yet frustrating to producers due to the lack of a formal definition of “natural”. Previous work has studied how consumers define naturalness and how they rate the naturalness of various products, but there is a gap in knowledge relating to how color and flavor additives impact perceptions. The objective of this study was to understand how colorants and flavorants on ingredient statements affect perceptions of naturalness. An online survey was launched in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia to determine how consumers perceive products with ingredient statements containing different combinations of artificial and natural colors and flavors when shown with and without the product identity. Results showed that consumers look at the whole product primarily to make decisions about naturalness, but also consider other factors. Products derived from plants and products with natural colors and flavors were perceived to be the most natural. Artificial flavors may be more acceptable than artificial colors due to negative health perceptions and labeling rules associated with colors. Additionally, factors like ingredient familiarity and processing likely influence consumers when making decisions about product naturalness. Males, Millennials, and educated participants have higher naturalness scores than other participants in their respective demographics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Review

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Review
Spices and Seasoning Mixes in European Union—Innovations and Ensuring Safety
Foods 2021, 10(10), 2289; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10102289 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Spices are an important group of food products of great importance in nutrition and food technology. They are mainly used to shape the sensory properties of food in gastronomy, in home cooking, and in industry. Ensuring quality and safety is one of the [...] Read more.
Spices are an important group of food products of great importance in nutrition and food technology. They are mainly used to shape the sensory properties of food in gastronomy, in home cooking, and in industry. Ensuring quality and safety is one of the basic tasks of spice producers. The aim of this review is to present the threats to the consumer related to the presence of spices and seasoning mixes in the diet. Therefore, special attention was paid to such risks as excess sodium chloride (and sodium) in spice mixtures, the use of additives influencing the sensory experience, and irregularities in the labeling of spices and seasoning mixes for the presence of additives and allergens. The threats regarding microbiological safety and the presence of heavy metals, pesticides, plant protection products, as well as synthetic fertilizers and undeclared additives are also presented and the issue of adulteration and lack of authenticity of spices and spice mixtures is discussed. Using data from IJHARS planned inspections and notifications registered in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) for 2015–2019, as well as the results of own research, an analysis of the risks caused by herbs and spices was carried out. Strategic activities of companies producing spices focus, among others, on improving production and expanding the commercial offer with new, attractive products. The article reviews product and process innovations in spice mixes and the methods of ensuring safety in this group of food products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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Review
Traditional Applications of Tannin Rich Extracts Supported by Scientific Data: Chemical Composition, Bioavailability and Bioaccessibility
Foods 2021, 10(2), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020251 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1456
Abstract
Tannins are polyphenolic compounds historically utilized in textile and adhesive industries, but also in traditional human and animal medicines or foodstuffs. Since 20th-century, advances in analytical chemistry have allowed disclosure of the chemical nature of these molecules. The chemical profile of extracts obtained [...] Read more.
Tannins are polyphenolic compounds historically utilized in textile and adhesive industries, but also in traditional human and animal medicines or foodstuffs. Since 20th-century, advances in analytical chemistry have allowed disclosure of the chemical nature of these molecules. The chemical profile of extracts obtained from previously selected species was investigated to try to establish a bridge between traditional background and scientific data. The study of the chemical composition of these extracts has permitted us to correlate the presence of tannins and other related molecules with the effectiveness of their apparent uses. The revision of traditional knowledge paired with scientific evidence may provide a supporting background on their use and the basis for developing innovative pharmacology and food applications based on formulations using natural sources of tannins. This traditional-scientific approach can result useful due to the raising consumers’ demand for natural products in markets, to which tannin-rich extracts may pose an attractive alternative. Therefore, it is of interest to back traditional applications with accurate data while meeting consumer’s acceptance. In this review, several species known to contain high amounts of tannins have been selected as a starting point to establish a correlation between their alleged traditional use, tannins content and composition and potential bioaccessibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Food Additives: From Source to Application)
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