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Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040760
The cosmetics and food fields are based on the use of synthetic substances to protect their products against oxidation. However, synthetic antioxidants were reported to have negative effects on human health. The interest to develop natural antioxidants from plants has been growing in recent decades. The aim of this study was to determine the antioxidant properties of three essential oils (EOs) of M. pulegium (L.), M. suaveolens (Ehrh.) and M. spicata (L.) from the Azrou and Ifrane regions. The organoleptic characteristics, yields and physical properties were determined for the selected EOs. Their chemical compositions were identified using GC-MS; then, their antioxidant activities were evaluated using the DPPH• free radical scavenging activity and were compared with the ascorbic acid standard. The determined physicochemical parameters of dry matter and EOs demonstrated their good quality. The analysis of the EOs showed the dominance of pulegone (68.86–70.92%) and piperitenone (24.81%), piperitenone oxide (74.69–60.3%), and carvone (71.56–54.79%) and limonene (10.5–9.69%) for M. pulegium, M. suaveolens and M. spicata, respectively, from Azrou and Ifrane. Additionally, the antiradical tests demonstrated the remarkable power of these EOs, especially M. pulegium EO (IC50 = 15.93 mg/mL), which recorded the best activity compared with ascorbic acid (IC50 = 8.849 mg/mL). The obtained results indicated that these EOs could be applied as natural antioxidants in the food industry.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040759
The current work was designed to evaluate the antioxidant activity and antidiabetic effect of Ficus carica L. extracts. For that, the leaves and buds of Ficus carica L. were analyzed to determine their polyphenolic and flavonoid contents and antioxidant activity. Diabetes was induced by a single dose of alloxan monohydrate (65 mg/kg body weight), then diabetic rats were treated with a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight of the methanolic extracts of Ficus carica leaves or buds or their combination for 30 days. Throughout the experiment, blood sugar and body weight were measured every 5 and 7 days respectively. At the end of the experiment, serum and urine were collected for analysis of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, total cholesterol, triglycerides, creatinine, uric acid, urea, proteins, sodium, potassium, and chloride. Pancreas, liver, and kidney were removed to estimate catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione activities; lipid peroxidation products were also determined. The results obtained revealed that alloxan has induced hyperglycemia, increased liver and renal biomarkers levels, reduced antioxidative enzymes, and induced lipid peroxidation. However, the treatment with Ficus carica leaf and bud extracts, especially their combination, has attenuated all pharmacological perturbations induced by alloxan.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040758
Understanding the effects of drying on the selenium (Se) content and Se bioaccessibility of Se-rich plants is critical to dietary supplementation of Se. The effects of five common drying methods (far-infrared drying (FIRD), vacuum drying (VD), microwave vacuum drying (MVD), hot air drying (HD), and freeze vacuum drying (FD)) on the content and bioaccessibility of Se and Se species in Cardamine violifolia leaves (CVLs) were studied. The content of SeCys2 in fresh CVLs was the highest (5060.50 μg/g of dry weight (DW)); after FIRD, it had the lowest selenium loss, with a loss rate of less than 19%. Among all of the drying processes, FD and VD samples had the lowest Se retention and bioaccessibility. FIRD, VD, and FD samples have similar effects on antioxidant activity.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040757
Generations of sensors have been developed for predicting food sensory profiles to circumvent the use of a human sensory panel, but a technology that can rapidly predict a suite of sensory attributes from one spectral measurement remains unavailable. Using spectra from grape extracts, this novel study aimed to address this challenge by exploring the use of a machine learning algorithm, extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost), to predict twenty-two wine sensory attribute scores from five sensory stimuli: aroma, colour, taste, flavour, and mouthfeel. Two datasets were obtained from absorbance-transmission and fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (A-TEEM) spectroscopy with different fusion methods: variable-level data fusion of absorbance and fluorescence spectral fingerprints, and feature-level data fusion of A-TEEM and CIELAB datasets. The results for externally validated models showed slightly better performance using only A-TEEM data, predicting five out of twenty-two wine sensory attributes with R2 values above 0.7 and fifteen with R2 values above 0.5. Considering the complex biotransformation involved in processing grapes to wine, the ability to predict sensory properties based on underlying chemical composition in this way suggests that the approach could be more broadly applicable to the agri-food sector and other transformed foodstuffs to predict a product’s sensory characteristics from raw material spectral attributes.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040756
Gluten-free batters, in general, require the incorporation of agents to control their rheology; this role is commonly played by hydrocolloids. New natural sources of hydrocolloids are under permanent research. In this regard, the functional properties of the galactomannan extracted from the seed of Gleditsia triacanthos (Gledi) have been studied. In this work, we evaluated the incorporation of this hydrocolloid, alone and in combination with Xanthan gum, in gluten-free batters and bread and compared it with Guar gum. The incorporation of hydrocolloids increased the viscoelastic profile of the batters. Gledi addition at 0.5% and 1.25% increased the elastic modulus (G′) by 200% and 1500%, respectively, and similar trends were observed when Gledi-Xanthan was used. These increases were more pronounced when Guar and Guar-Xanthan were used. The batters became firmer and more elastically resistant because of the addition of hydrocolloids; batters containing Gledi had lower values of these parameters than batters containing Gledi-Xanthan. The addition of Gledi at both doses significantly increased the volume of the bread compared to the control by about 12%, while when Xanthan gum was included, a decrease was observed, especially at higher doses (by about 12%). The increase in specific volume was accompanied by a decrease in initial crumb firmness and chewiness, and during storage, they were significantly reduced. Bread prepared with Guar gum and Guar-Xanthan gum combinations was also evaluated, and the trends observed were comparable to that of bread with Gledi gum and Gledi-Xanthan gum. The results showed that Gledi addition favors the production of bread of high technological quality.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040755
Sprouts may be contaminated with different pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms, which lead far too easily to foodborne outbreaks. The elucidations of microbial profiles in germinated brown rice (BR) are important, but the changes in the microbial composition during germination are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the microbiota composition and to monitor the dominant microbial dynamics in BR during germination using both culture-independent and -dependent methods. BR samples (HLJ2 and HN) were collected from each stage of the germination processing. The populations of microbes (total viable counts, yeast/mold counts, Bacillus cereus, and Enterobacteriaceae) of two BR cultivars increased markedly with the prolongation of the germination time. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) showed that the germination process significantly influenced the microbial composition and reduced the microbial diversity. Similar microbial communities were observed between the HLJ2 and the HN samples, but with different microbial richness. The bacterial and fungal alpha diversity achieved the maximum for ungerminated samples and declined significantly after soaking and germination. During germination, Pantoea, Bacillus, and Cronobacter were the dominant bacterial genera, but Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and Coniothyrium dominated for the fungi in the BR samples. The predominance of harmful and spoilage microorganisms in BR during germination is mainly from contaminated seeds, which highlights the potential risk of foodborne illness from sprouted BR products. The results provide new insight into the microbiome dynamics of BR and may help to establish effective decontamination measures against pathogenic microorganisms during sprout production.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040754
The influence of ultrasound combined with sodium hypochlorite (US-NaClO) treatment on microorganisms and quality of fresh-cut cucumber during storage were investigated. Ultrasound (400 W, 40 kHz, US: 5, 10 and 15 min) and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO: 50, 75, 100 ppm) were used to treat fresh-cut cucumber in a single or combined treatment and stored at 4 °C for 8 days and analyzed for texture, color and flavor. The results showed that US-NaClO treatment had a synergistic effect on the inhibition of microorganisms during storage. It could significantly reduce (p < 0.05) the number of microorganisms by 1.73 to 2.17 log CFU/g. In addition, US-NaClO treatment reduced the accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA) during storage (4.42 nmol/g) and water mobility, and maintained the integrity of the cell membrane, delayed the increase of weight loss (3.21%), reduced water loss, thus slowing down the decline of firmness (9.20%) of fresh-cut cucumber during storage. The degradation of chlorophyll (6.41%) was reduced to maintain the color of freshly cut cucumbers. At the same time, US-NaClO could maintain the content of aldehydes, the main aromatic substance of cucumber, and reduced the content of alcohols and ketones during storage. Combined with the electronic nose results, it could maintain the cucumber flavor at the end of the storage period and reduce the odor produced by microorganisms. Overall, US-NaClO was helpful to inhibit the growth of microorganisms during storage, improve the quality of fresh-cut cucumber.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040753
Natural bioactive compounds play an important role in the prevention of various diseases. The exotic fruits Averrhoa carambola L. (star fruit), Cyphomandra betacea (tamarillo) and Myrciaria dubia (camu-camu) can be valuable sources of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. The aim of this study has been to compare the antioxidant properties of these exotic fruits, the structure of polyphenolic compounds and the content of vitamin C and β-carotene. All the juices were analyzed for their antioxidant capacity (DPPH and ABTS assays) and the composition of phenolic compounds (TP and FBBB assays, total flavonoid content, total anthocyanins). In addition, HPLC assays were performed to analyse the content of phenolic acids, flavonoids, vitamin C and β-carotene. The results demonstrated that juice from the Myrciaria dubia fruit had the highest antioxidant capacity, which was 4.5-fold higher than that of juice from Averrhola carambola L., and nearly 7-fold higher than the antioxidant capacity of Cyphomandra betacea fruit juice. Additionally, juice from the camu-camu fruit had a 3- to 4-fold higher total polyphenol content (8290 ± 254 mg GAE L−1) and a high level of vitamin C (8410.8 ± 16.9 mg AA kg−1). In turn, tamarillo juice had a high content of total anthocyanins (5796 mg CGE L−1) and phenolic acids (mostly chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid). Juice produced from carambola had a high content of total flavonoids (1345 mg CAE L−1), and the composition of these compounds was dominated by flavanols (epicatechin). The research results justify the conclusion that fruits of Myrciaria dubia, Averrhoa carambola L., Cyphomandra betacea are rich sources of bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties, and in the near future may serve as healthful food ingredients.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040752
Increasing urbanization and affluence have led to changes in food consumption patterns. The application of nitrogen (N) fertilizers ensures food security but also leads to environmental pollution due to N losses, through processes such as acidification, eutrophication, and greenhouse gas emissions. To clarify whether changes in food consumption patterns could increase N losses and to explore sustainable food system pathways, this study integrated the Chinese Food System Dashboard and the Nutrient Flows in Food Chains, Environment and Resources Use model to quantify and compare the link between food consumption and N losses in different agricultural regions using a case study of Bayannur City in the Yellow River Basin from 2000 to 2016. During the study period, Bayannur’s food consumption pattern changed from a “high carbohydrate and pork pattern” to a “high fiber and herbivore pattern”, which represents a shift from low to high N consumption. The per-capita food consumption decreased by 11.55% from 425.41 kg cap−1, whereas the per-capita N losses increased by 12.42% from 35.60 kg N cap−1. The average share of the plant-oriented and animal-oriented food supply in these losses was 53.39% and 46.61%, respectively. There were differences in the food consumption patterns and N losses in Bayannur’s farming, farming–pastoral, and pastoral regions. The changes in N losses were most significant in the pastoral region. The N losses to the environment increased sharply by 112.33% from 22.75 g N cap−1 over the past 16 years. The low level of economic development in Bayannur resulted in a shift in the food consumption pattern to a high N consumption. Four measures to protect food security and reduce the food N cost were proposed: (1) increasing the wheat planting area and maintaining the existing corn one; (2) expanding the scale of high-quality alfalfa planting; (3) enhancing the area of oat grass and wheat replanting; and (4) using modern planting technology.
Foods, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12040751
Euphorbia humifusa is a plant species with medicinal and food characteristics used to treat diarrhea and other intestinal diseases. This study investigated the prebiotic effects of E. humifusa-derived polysaccharides (EHPs) on human colonic microbiota and their regulatory effects on ulcerative colitis (UC). Structural characterization showed that EHPs mainly consisted of galactose, glucose, and glucuronic acid and were heteropolysaccharides having molecular weights of 7.70 × 103 and 1.76 × 102 kDa, respectively. EHPs were identified as poorly absorbed macromolecules, verified by the apparent permeability coefficient values (Papp < 1.0 × 10−6 cm/s) and cellular uptake by Caco-2 cell monolayers. During in vitro fermentation studies, the contents of acetic, propionic, and valeric acids increased significantly in EHP-supplemented samples after 24 h compared to that in the control sample. Moreover, EHPs could alter the intestinal microbiota composition by increasing the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium and Holdemanella and reducing that of Escherichia-Shigella, Tyzzerella, and Parasutterella at the genus level. In a dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced UC mouse model, EHPs alleviated UC symptoms by increasing the colon length, reversing the colon tissue damage and inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines. Overall, these results suggest that EHPs could be utilized as a potential prebiotic or a promising nutritional strategy for UC management.