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Special Issue "Recent Advances in Food Chemistry and Microbiology in Relation to Health"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Chi-Fai Chau

Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +886-937993372
Interests: food chemistry; food microbiology; carbohydrate; functional food; nutraceuticals; food processing; food technology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food scientists delve into all aspects of food research, including agromaterials, processing, safety, quality, preservation, and most importantly, the healthfulness of foods. Their collaborative efforts have already helped to make great strides but there are still challenges that need to be overcome. These challenges can benefit from multidisciplinary research involving food chemists along with food microbiologists, nutritionists, engineers, and other scientists. Food chemistry research has provided the backbone in understanding the chemical processes and interactions of all biological and nonbiological components of foods. Many remarkable discoveries have been made through the incorporation of microbiology, nutrition, or other domains. These multidisciplinary studies have led to a deeper insight in health awareness, to which great attention has been given.

This Special Issue covers all aspects of food chemistry and microbiology, particularly in relation to health. It is dedicated to new discoveries in food analyses, characterization of bioactive food components, advancements or innovations in analytical approaches and food technology, characterization of food structure and physicochemical properties, and in-vitro or in-vivo functional evaluations of bioactive constituents—for instance, the ability of resistant starch derived physically or chemically from native starch to enhance gastrointestinal health, health implications offered by new chemical–analytical findings on prebiotic, probiotics or other fermentation metabolites. This Special Issue is also intended to highlight the interdisciplinary applications of food chemistry and microbiology to the study of healthfulness of foods.

Prof. Chi-Fai Chau
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 semimonthly 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 1800 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

  • Food analysis
  • Analytical approaches
  • Functional food
  • Health
  • Advanced food technology
  • Physicochemical properties of foods
  • Composition of foods
  • Bioactive food components

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility of Utilizing Stable-Isotope Dimethyl Labeling in Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry-Based Determination for Food Allergens—Case of Kiwifruit
Molecules 2019, 24(10), 1920; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24101920 (registering DOI)
Received: 1 May 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
Stable-isotope dimethyl labeling is a highly reactive and cost-effective derivatization procedure that could be utilized in proteomics analysis. In this study, a liquid chromatography– tandem mass spectrometry in multiple reaction monitoring mode (LC-MS-MRM) platform for the quantification of kiwi allergens was first developed [...] Read more.
Stable-isotope dimethyl labeling is a highly reactive and cost-effective derivatization procedure that could be utilized in proteomics analysis. In this study, a liquid chromatography– tandem mass spectrometry in multiple reaction monitoring mode (LC-MS-MRM) platform for the quantification of kiwi allergens was first developed using this strategy. Three signature peptides for target allergens Act d 1, Act d 5, and Act d 11 were determined and were derivatized with normal and deuterated formaldehyde as external calibrants and internal standards, respectively. The results showed that sample preparation with the phenol method provided comprehensive protein populations. Recoveries at four different levels ranging from 72.5–109.3% were achieved for the H-labeled signature peptides of Act d 1 (SPA1-H) and Act d 5 (SPA5-H) with precision ranging from 1.86–9.92%. The limit of quantification (LOQ) was set at 8 pg mL−1 for SPA1-H and at 8 ng mL−1 for SPA5-H. The developed procedure was utilized to analyze seven kinds of hand-made kiwi foods containing 0.0175–0.0515 mg g−1 of Act d 1 and 0.0252–0.0556 mg g−1 of Act d 5. This study extended the applicability of stable-isotope dimethyl labeling to the economical and precise determination of food allergens and peptides. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Physicochemical Properties and Intestinal Health Promoting Water-Insoluble Fiber Enriched Fraction Prepared from Blanched Vegetable Soybean Pod Hulls
Molecules 2019, 24(9), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091796
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
Different methods can be used to change the fiber compositions of food, and they consequently affect the physicochemical properties and physiological activities. The present study compared the effects of a blanching treatment on the physicochemical properties of water-insoluble fiber enriched fraction (WIFF) from [...] Read more.
Different methods can be used to change the fiber compositions of food, and they consequently affect the physicochemical properties and physiological activities. The present study compared the effects of a blanching treatment on the physicochemical properties of water-insoluble fiber enriched fraction (WIFF) from three varieties of vegetable soybean pod hulls (tea vegetable soybean pod hull, TVSPH; black vegetable soybean pod hull, BVSPH; 305 vegetable soybean pod hulls, 305VSPH) and evaluated their effects on intestinal health in hamsters. Blanching may increase the soluble dietary fiber (SDF) content of WIFF in the 305VSPH variety by solubilizing cell wall components and releasing water-soluble sugars. Thus, the WIFF in the 305VSPH variety after blanching may be composed of cellulose and pectic substances. The WIFF of the blanched 305VSPH (B-305VSPH) variety exhibited the highest physicochemical properties, such as a water-retention capacity (11.7 g/g), oil-holding capacity (9.34 g/g), swelling property (10.8 mL/g), solubility (12.2%), and cation-exchange capacity (221 meq/kg), of the three varieties examined. The supplementation of B-305VSPH WIFF in the diet resulted in significantly (p < 0.05) lower cecal and fecal ammonia; activities of fecal β-d-glucosidase, β-d-glucuronidase, mucinase, and urease; as well as higher cecal total short-chain fatty acids relative to other diets. In addition, microbial analysis suggested that fecal bifidobacteria growth was enhanced by the consumption of B-305VSPH WIFF. Therefore, B-305VSPH WIFF may be applicable as a potential functional ingredient in the food industry for the improvement of intestinal health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Complex Tannins Isolated from Jelly Fig Achenes Affect Pectin Gelation through Non-Specific Inhibitory Effect on Pectin Methylesterase
Molecules 2019, 24(8), 1601; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081601
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
Jelly fig (Ficus awkeotsang Makino) is used to prepare drinks and desserts in Asia, owing to the gelling capability of its pectin via endogenous pectin methylesterase (PE) catalyzation. Meanwhile, substances with PE inhibitory activity (SPEI) in jelly fig achenes (JFA) [...] Read more.
Jelly fig (Ficus awkeotsang Makino) is used to prepare drinks and desserts in Asia, owing to the gelling capability of its pectin via endogenous pectin methylesterase (PE) catalyzation. Meanwhile, substances with PE inhibitory activity (SPEI) in jelly fig achenes (JFA) residue were noticed to be able to impede the gelation. In this study, we characterized and isolated SPEI from JFA by a series of PE inhibition-guided isolations. Crude aqueous extract of JFA residue was mixed with acetone, and 90% acetone-soluble matter was further fractionated by Diaion HP-20 chromatography. The retained fraction with dominant PE inhibitory activity was collected from 100% methanol eluate. Results from high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) and hydrolysis-induced chromogenic transition revealed the SPEI as complex tannins. Total tannins content was determined in each isolated fraction, and was closely related to PE inhibitory activity. In addition, SPEI in this study could inhibit activities of digestive enzymes in vitro and may, therefore, be assumed to act as non-specific protein binding agent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microencapsulation of Lactococcus lactis Gh1 with Gum Arabic and Synsepalum dulcificum via Spray Drying for Potential Inclusion in Functional Yogurt
Molecules 2019, 24(7), 1422; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071422
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
There has been an explosion of probiotic incorporated based product. However, many reports indicated that most of the probiotics have failed to survive in high quantity, which has limited their effectiveness in most functional foods. Thus, to overcome this problem, microencapsulation is considered [...] Read more.
There has been an explosion of probiotic incorporated based product. However, many reports indicated that most of the probiotics have failed to survive in high quantity, which has limited their effectiveness in most functional foods. Thus, to overcome this problem, microencapsulation is considered to be a promising process. In this study, Lactococcus lactis Gh1 was encapsulated via spray-drying with gum Arabic together with Synsepalum dulcificum or commonly known as miracle fruit. It was observed that after spray-drying, high viability (~109 CFU/mL) powders containing L. lactis in combination with S. dulcificum were developed, which was then formulated into yogurt. The tolerance of encapsulated bacterial cells in simulated gastric juice at pH 1.5 was tested in an in-vitro model and the result showed that after 2 h, cell viability remained high at 1.11 × 106 CFU/mL. Incubation of encapsulated cells in the presence of 0.6% (w/v) bile salts showed it was able to survive (~104 CFU/mL) after 2 h. Microencapsulated L. lactis retained a higher viability, at ~107 CFU/mL, when incorporated into yogurt compared to non-microencapsulated cells ~105 CFU/mL. The fortification of microencapsulated and non-microencapsulated L. lactis in yogurts influenced the viable cell counts of yogurt starter cultures, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subs. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bactericidal and Anti-Biofilm Activity of Ethanol Extracts Derived from Selected Medicinal Plants against Streptococcus pyogenes
Molecules 2019, 24(6), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24061165
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 10 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 24 March 2019
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Abstract
Background: There is a growing interest in medicinal plants which have been traditionally used for the treatment of human infections. This study assessed 14 ethanol extracts (EEs) on bacterial growth and biofilm formation of Streptococcus pyogenes. Methods: Constituent major phytochemicals in the [...] Read more.
Background: There is a growing interest in medicinal plants which have been traditionally used for the treatment of human infections. This study assessed 14 ethanol extracts (EEs) on bacterial growth and biofilm formation of Streptococcus pyogenes. Methods: Constituent major phytochemicals in the extracts were identified using ultra performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-MS/MS). Micro-broth dilution and time-kill assays were used to determine antibacterial activities. Anti-biofilm activities were studied using MTT assay, and morphology of biofilms was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was employed to visualize the ultra-cross section structure of bacteria treated with efficacious extracts. Results: Licorice root, purple coneflower flower, purple coneflower stem, sage leaves and slippery elm inner bark EEs were the most effective, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBC) of 62.5 μg/mL and 125 μg/mL, respectively. The minimum biofilm inhibitory concentration (MBIC) of extracts ranged from 31.5–250 μg/mL. Morphological changes were observed in treated biofilms compared to the untreated. The four most effective extracts exhibited the ability to induce degradation of bacterial cell wall and disintegration of the plasma membrane. Conclusion: We suggest that EEs of sage leaf and purple coneflower flower are promising candidates to be further investigated for developing alternative natural therapies for the management of streptococcal pharyngitis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Extracts from Fermented Black Garlic Exhibit a Hepatoprotective Effect on Acute Hepatic Injury
Molecules 2019, 24(6), 1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24061112
Received: 14 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
The mechanism of hepatoprotective compounds is usually related to its antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects. Black garlic is produced from garlic by heat treatment and its anti-inflammatory activity has been previously reported. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the hepatoprotective effect [...] Read more.
The mechanism of hepatoprotective compounds is usually related to its antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects. Black garlic is produced from garlic by heat treatment and its anti-inflammatory activity has been previously reported. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the hepatoprotective effect of five different extracts of black garlic against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced acute hepatic injury (AHI). In this study, mice in the control, CCl4, silymarin, and black garlic groups were orally administered distilled water, silymarin, and different fraction extracts of black garlic, respectively, after CCl4 was injected intraperitoneally to induce AHI. The results revealed that the n-butanol layer extract (BA) and water layer extract (WS) demonstrated a hepatoprotective effect by reducing the levels of alanine aminotransferase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA). Furthermore, the BA and WS fractions of black garlic extract increased the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), glutathione reductase (GSH-Rd), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and the interleukin-1 (IL-1β) level in liver. It was concluded that black garlic exhibited significant protective effects on CCl4-induced acute hepatic injury. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Infant Faecal Fermentation of Low Viscosity Barley β-Glucan and Its Acid Hydrolyzed Derivatives: Evaluation of Their Potential as Novel Prebiotics
Molecules 2019, 24(5), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24050828
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 17 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
Barley contains high level of β-1,3-1,4-glucans (BBGs) which can be fermented by microbes and are a potential prebiotic. In the present study, native BBG with low viscosity and a MW of 319 kDa was depolymerized by acid hydrolysis to produce a series of [...] Read more.
Barley contains high level of β-1,3-1,4-glucans (BBGs) which can be fermented by microbes and are a potential prebiotic. In the present study, native BBG with low viscosity and a MW of 319 kDa was depolymerized by acid hydrolysis to produce a series of four structurally characterized fragments with MWs ranging from 6–104 kDa. In vitro fermentation of these BBG samples by infant faecal microbiome was evaluated using a validated deep-well plate protocol as parallel miniature bioreactors. Microbial taxa were identified using 16S amplicon sequencing after 40 h of anaerobic fermentation. Bioinformatics analysis including diversity indexes, predicted metagenomic KEGG functions and predicted phenotypes were performed on the sequenced data. Short chain fatty acids and dissolved ammonia were quantified and the SCFAs/NH3 ratio was used to evaluate the eubiosis/dysbiosis potential. Correlation analysis showed that most of the parameters investigated showed a parabolic function instead of a monotonous function with the BBG samples having different MWs. Among the five BBGs, it was concluded that BBG with an intermediate MW of 28 kDa is the most promising candidate to be developed as a novel prebiotic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Role of Exopolysaccharide Produced by Streptococcus thermophilus in the Intestinal Inflammation and Mucosal Barrier in Caco-2 Monolayer and Dextran Sulphate Sodium-Induced Experimental Murine Colitis
Molecules 2019, 24(3), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24030513
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
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Abstract
Exopolysaccharide (EPS) produced by probiotics may play an important role in gastrointestinal disease prevention, including ulcerative colitis. However, there is no literature reporting on the intervention effects of purified EPS. The aim of this study was to investigate the alleviating effect of the [...] Read more.
Exopolysaccharide (EPS) produced by probiotics may play an important role in gastrointestinal disease prevention, including ulcerative colitis. However, there is no literature reporting on the intervention effects of purified EPS. The aim of this study was to investigate the alleviating effect of the purified EPS produced by Streptococcus thermophilus MN-BM-A01 on murine model of colitis induced by dextran sulphate sodium (DSS). A water-soluble heteropolysaccharide (EPS-1) isolated from MN-BM-A01 was composed of rhamnose, glucose, galactose, and mannose in a molar ratio of 12.9:26.0:60.9:0.25, with molecular weight of 4.23 × 105 Da. After EPS-1 administration, the disease severity of mouse colitis was significantly alleviated, mainly manifesting as the decrease of disease activity index and mitigated colonic epithelial cell injury. Meanwhile, pro-inflammatory cytokines levels (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, and interferon-γ) were significantly suppressed, the reduced expressions of tight junction protein (claudin-1, occludin, and E-canherin) were counteracted. In addition, the results in vitro showed that EPS-1 protected intestinal barrier integrity from the disruption by lipopolysaccharide in Caco-2 monolayer, increased expression of tight junction and alleviated pro-inflammatory response. Collectively, our study confirmed the protective effects of purified EPS produced by Streptococcus thermophilus on acute colitis via alleviating intestinal inflammation and improving mucosal barrier function. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quality Evaluation of Tricholoma matsutake Based on the Nucleic Acid Compounds by UPLC-TOF/MS and UPLC-QqQ/MS
Received: 8 December 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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Abstract
So far, there has been no quality evaluation of Tricholoma matsutake. Nucleic acid compounds are a kind of functional ingredient in T. matsutake that is beneficial to human health. In this study, a UPLC-TOF/MS method was first used to scan and identify [...] Read more.
So far, there has been no quality evaluation of Tricholoma matsutake. Nucleic acid compounds are a kind of functional ingredient in T. matsutake that is beneficial to human health. In this study, a UPLC-TOF/MS method was first used to scan and identify the potential nucleic acid compounds in T. matsutake. Based on the calculation of the molecular formula and subsequent confirmation by authentic standards, 15 nucleic acid compounds were unambiguously identified: adenosine, cytidine, guanosine, inosine, thymidine, uridine, xanthosine dehydrate, 2′-deoxyadenosine, 2′-deoxycytidine, 2′-deoxyguanosine, 2′-deoxyuridine, adenosine 5′-monophosphate, cytidine 5′-monophosphate, guanosine 5′-monophosphate, and uridine 5′-monophosphate. Then, a UPLC-QqQ/MS method was developed for the subsequent quantitative analysis. After validating the limits of quantification, detection, precision, repeatability, and recovery through a calibration curve, the content of 15 nucleic acid compounds was determined by the proposed UPLC-QqQ/MS method in 80 T. matsutake samples collected from different regions in Sichuan province, Southwest China. After the statistical analysis, we suggest that the total content of nucleic acid compounds in the qualified T. matsutake should be higher than 24.49 mg/100 g. The results indicated that the combined use of UPLC-TOF/MS and UPLC-QqQ/MS is efficient for fast identification and determination of nucleic acid compounds to comprehensively evaluate the quality of T. matsutake. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fermentability of a Novel Galacto-Oligosaccharide Mixture by Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp.
Molecules 2018, 23(12), 3352; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23123352
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 15 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (729 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the specific growth stimulation of certain desired intestinal bacteria by a novel galacto-oligosaccharide mixture, which was produced with a β-galactosidase from a potential probiotic Lactobacillus isolate that contained mainly oligosaccharides of β-1,3 and β-1,6 glycosidic linkages (termed Lb-GOS) [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the specific growth stimulation of certain desired intestinal bacteria by a novel galacto-oligosaccharide mixture, which was produced with a β-galactosidase from a potential probiotic Lactobacillus isolate that contained mainly oligosaccharides of β-1,3 and β-1,6 glycosidic linkages (termed Lb-GOS) using single-strain fermentations. The composition of this Lb-GOS mixture was 33.5% disaccharides, 60.5% trisaccharides, 4.8% tetrasaccharides, and 1.0% pentasaccharides with a negligible amount of monosaccharides, lactose, and lactobionic acid (0.3%). Eight Lactobacillus spp. strains and three Bifidobacterium spp. strains were used in single-strain fermentations to determine the fermentation activity scores of this Lb-GOS preparation compared to two commercially available prebiotic mixtures, 4′GOS-P and Vivinal GOS (V-GOS). The highest scores were obtained when L. reuteri Lb46 and the two Bifidobacterium strains, B. animalis subsp. lactis Bif1 and Bif3, were grown on these galacto-oligosaccharide mixtures. In addition, the Lb-GOS mixture was found to have higher fermentation activity scores; hence, it stimulated the growth of these probiotic strains more than 4′GOS-P and V-GOS, which may be attributed to the different glycosidic linkage types that are found in the Lb-GOS mixture compared to the other two commercial preparations. These findings suggested that the Lb-GOS mixture that is described in this work should be of interest for the formulations of new carbohydrate-based functional food ingredients. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Advances in Molecular Mechanisms of Wheat Allergenicity in Animal Models: A Comprehensive Review
Molecules 2019, 24(6), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24061142
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 16 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
The prevalence of wheat allergy has reached significant levels in many countries. Therefore, wheat is a major global food safety and public health issue. Animal models serve as critical tools to advance the understanding of the mechanisms of wheat allergenicity to develop preventive [...] Read more.
The prevalence of wheat allergy has reached significant levels in many countries. Therefore, wheat is a major global food safety and public health issue. Animal models serve as critical tools to advance the understanding of the mechanisms of wheat allergenicity to develop preventive and control methods. A comprehensive review on the molecular mechanisms of wheat allergenicity using animal models is unavailable at present. There were two major objectives of this study: To identify the lessons that animal models have taught us regarding the molecular mechanisms of wheat allergenicity and to identify the strengths, challenges, and future prospects of animal models in basic and applied wheat allergy research. Using the PubMed and Google Scholar databases, we retrieved and critically analyzed the relevant articles and excluded celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Our analysis shows that animal models can provide insight into the IgE epitope structure of wheat allergens, effects of detergents and other chemicals on wheat allergenicity, and the role of genetics, microbiome, and food processing in wheat allergy. Although animal models have inherent limitations, they are critical to advance knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of wheat allergenicity. They can also serve as highly useful pre-clinical testing tools to develop safer genetically modified wheat, hypoallergenic wheat products, novel pharmaceuticals, and vaccines. Full article
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