The core objective of the Food Biosciences Department is to engage in advanced research and technology development in support of the Irish Agri-Food industry sector. Activities fall into three research areas: Food for Health; Cheese Microbiology and Biochemistry and Milk and Product Quality.

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Food Biosciences

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  • Chronic intermittent hypoxia disrupts cardiorespiratory homeostasis and gut microbiota composition in adult male guinea-pigs

    Lucking, Eric F.; O'Connor, Karen M.; Strain, Conall R.; Fouhy, Fiona; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F.S.; Burns, David P.; Golubeva, Anna V.; Stanton, Catherine; Clarke, Gerard; Cryan, John F.; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-11-13)
    Background: Carotid body (peripheral oxygen sensor) sensitisation is pivotal in the development of chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH)-induced hypertension. We sought to determine if exposure to CIH, modelling human sleep apnoea, adversely affects cardiorespiratory control in guinea-pigs, a species with hypoxia-insensitive carotid bodies. We reasoned that CIH-induced disruption of gut microbiota would evoke cardiorespiratory morbidity. Methods: Adult male guinea-pigs were exposed to CIH (6.5% O2 at nadir, 6 cycles.hour−1) for 8 h.day−1 for 12 consecutive days. Findings: CIH-exposed animals established reduced faecal microbiota species richness, with increased relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and reduced relative abundance of Firmicutes bacteria. Urinary corticosterone and noradrenaline levels were unchanged in CIH-exposed animals, but brainstem noradrenaline concentrations were lower compared with sham. Baseline ventilation was equivalent in CIH-exposed and sham animals; however, respiratory timing variability, sigh frequency and ventilation during hypoxic breathing were all lower in CIH-exposed animals. Baseline arterial blood pressure was unaffected by exposure to CIH, but β-adrenoceptor-dependent tachycardia and blunted bradycardia during phenylephrine-induced pressor responses was evident compared with sham controls. Interpretation: Increased carotid body chemo-afferent signalling appears obligatory for the development of CIH-induced hypertension and elevated chemoreflex control of breathing commonly reported in mammals, with hypoxia-sensitive carotid bodies. However, we reveal that exposure to modest CIH alters gut microbiota richness and composition, brainstem neurochemistry, and autonomic control of heart rate, independent of carotid body sensitisation, suggesting modulation of breathing and autonomic homeostasis via the microbiota-gut-brainstem axis. The findings have relevance to human sleep-disordered breathing.
  • Controlled functional expression of the bacteriocins pediocin PA-1 and bactofencin A in Escherichia coli

    Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; O’Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-06-08)
    The bacteriocins bactofencin A (class IId) and pediocin PA-1 (class IIa) are encoded by operons with a similarly clustered gene organization including a structural peptide, an immunity protein, an ABC transporter and accessory bacteriocin transporter protein. Cloning of these operons in E. coli TunerTM (DE3) on a pETcoco-2 derived vector resulted in successful secretion of both bacteriocins. A corresponding approach, involving the construction of vectors containing different combinations of these genes, revealed that the structural and the transporter genes alone are sufficient to permit heterologous production and secretion in this host. Even though the accessory protein, usually associated with optimal disulfide bond formation, was not required for bacteriocin synthesis, its presence did result in greater pediocin PA-1 production. The simplicity of the system and the fact that the associated bacteriocins could be recovered from the extracellular medium provides an opportunity to facilitate protein engineering and the overproduction of biologically-active bacteriocins at industrial scale. Additionally, this system could enable the characterization of new bacteriocin operons where genetic tools are not available for the native producers.
  • ΦCrAss001 represents the most abundant bacteriophage family in the human gut and infects Bacteroides intestinalis

    Shkoporov, Andrey N.; Khokhlova, Ekaterina V.; Fitzgerald, C. Brian; Stockdale, Stephen R.; Draper, Lorraine A.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; Janssen Biotech, Inc.; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-11-14)
    CrAssphages are an extensive and ubiquitous family of tailed bacteriophages, predicted to infect bacteria of the order Bacteroidales. Despite being found in ~50% of individuals and representing up to 90% of human gut viromes, members of this viral family have never been isolated in culture and remain understudied. Here, we report the isolation of a CrAssphage (ΦCrAss001) from human faecal material. This bacteriophage infects the human gut symbiont Bacteroides intestinalis, confirming previous in silico predictions of the likely host. DNA sequencing demonstrates that the bacteriophage genome is circular, 102 kb in size, and has unusual structural traits. In addition, electron microscopy confirms that ΦcrAss001 has a podovirus-like morphology. Despite the absence of obvious lysogeny genes, ΦcrAss001 replicates in a way that does not disrupt proliferation of the host bacterium, and is able to maintain itself in continuous host culture during several weeks.
  • Production of protein extracts from Swedish red, green, and brown seaweeds, Porphyra umbilicalis Kützing, Ulva lactuca Linnaeus, and Saccharina latissima (Linnaeus) J. V. Lamouroux using three different methods

    Harrysson, Hanna; Hayes, Maria; Eimer, Friederike; Carlsson, Nils-Gunnar; Toth, Gunilla B.; Undeland, Ingrid; Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research; Swedish Research Council Formas; 2820005; 21210034 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-04-28)
    The demand for vegetable proteins increases globally and seaweeds are considered novel and promising protein sources. However, the tough polysaccharide-rich cell walls and the abundance of polyphenols reduce the extractability and digestibility of seaweed proteins. Therefore, food grade, scalable, and environmentally friendly protein extraction techniques are required. To date, little work has been carried out on developing such methods taking into consideration the structural differences between seaweed species. In this work, three different protein extraction methods were applied to three Swedish seaweeds (Porphyra umbilicalis, Ulva lactuca, and Saccharina latissima). These methods included (I) a traditional method using sonication in water and subsequent ammonium sulfate-induced protein precipitation, (II) the pH-shift protein extraction method using alkaline protein solubilization followed by isoelectric precipitation, and (III) the accelerated solvent extraction (ASE®) method where proteins are extracted after pre-removal of lipids and phlorotannins. The highest protein yields were achieved using the pH-shift method applied to P. umbilicalis (22.6 ± 7.3%) and S. latissima (25.1 ± 0.9%). The traditional method resulted in the greatest protein yield when applied to U. lactuca (19.6 ± 0.8%). However, the protein concentration in the produced extracts was highest for all three species using the pH-shift method (71.0 ± 3.7%, 51.2 ± 2.1%, and 40.7 ± 0.5% for P. umbilicalis, U. lactuca, and S. latissima, respectively). In addition, the pH-shift method was found to concentrate the fatty acids in U. lactuca and S. latissima by 2.2 and 1.6 times, respectively. The pH-shift method can therefore be considered a promising strategy for producing seaweed protein ingredients for use in food and feed.
  • The Composition of Human Milk and Infant Faecal Microbiota Over the First Three Months of Life: A Pilot Study

    Murphy, Kiera; Curley, David; O’Callaghan, Tom F.; O’Shea, Carol A; Dempsey, Eugene; O'Toole, Paul W.; Ross, R Paul; Ryan, C. Anthony; Stanton, Catherine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Nature, 2017-01-17)
    Human milk contains a diverse array of bioactives and is also a source of bacteria for the developing infant gut. The aim of this study was to characterize the bacterial communities in human milk and infant faeces over the first 3 months of life, in 10 mother-infant pairs. The presence of viable Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in human milk was also evaluated. MiSeq sequencing revealed a large diversity of the human milk microbiota, identifying over 207 bacterial genera in milk samples. The phyla Proteobacteria and Firmicutes and the genera Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus were the predominant bacterial groups. A core of 12 genera represented 81% of the microbiota relative abundance in milk samples at week 1, 3 and 6, decreasing to 73% at week 12. Genera shared between infant faeces and human milk samples accounted for 70–88% of the total relative abundance in infant faecal samples, supporting the hypothesis of vertical transfer of bacteria from milk to the infant gut. In addition, identical strains of Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus plantarum were isolated from the milk and faeces of one mother-infant pair. Vertical transfer of bacteria via breastfeeding may contribute to the initial establishment of the microbiota in the developing infant intestine.
  • Marine Gelatine from Rest Raw Materials

    Milovanovic, Ivan; Hayes, Maria; Bord Iascaigh Mhara; DAFM/07/2017/PDFP (Preprints 2018, 2018-10-09)
    In recent years, demand for consumption of marine foods, and especially fish, has substantially increased worldwide. The majority of collagen available is sourced from mammalian-derived products. Although fish derived gelatine is a viable alternative to mammalian sourced gelatine, there are some challenges related to the use of fish gelatine including odour, colour, gelling and film forming properties as well as consistency in gelatine amino acid composition. Chemicals used for pre-treatment, as well as extraction conditions such as temperature and time, can influence the length of polypeptide chains that result and the functional properties of the gelatine. Compared to mammalian sources, gelatines derived from fish show notable differences in physical and chemical properties, and great care should be paid to optimization of the production process in order to obtain a product with the best properties for intended applications. The focus of this review is to explore the feasibility of producing gelatine sourced from marine processing by-products using different pre-treatment and extraction strategies with the aim of improving the techno-functional properties of the final product and improving the clean-label status of gelatines. The bioactivities of gelatine hydrolysates are also discussed.
  • Marine Gelatine from Rest Raw Materials

    Milovanovic, Ivan; Hayes, Maria; Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM); DAFM/07/2017/PDFP (MDPI, 2018-11-27)
    In recent years, demand for consumption of marine foods, and especially fish, has substantially increased worldwide. The majority of collagen available is sourced from mammalian-derived products. Although fish derived gelatine is a viable alternative to mammalian sourced gelatine, there are certain limitations related to the use of fish gelatine that include odour, colour, functional properties, and consistency in its amino acid composition. Chemicals used for pre-treatment, as well as extraction conditions such as temperature and time, can influence the length of polypeptide chains that result and the functional properties of the gelatine. Compared to traditional sources, gelatines derived from fish show significant differences in chemical and physical properties, and great care should be paid to optimization of the production process in order to obtain a product with the best properties for intended applications. The focus of this review is to explore the feasibility of producing gelatine sourced from marine processing by-products using different pre-treatment and extraction strategies with the aim of improving the techno-functional properties of the final product and improving the clean-label status of gelatines. The bioactivities of gelatine hydrolysates are also discussed.
  • Production of protein extracts from Swedish red, green, and brown seaweeds, Porphyra umbilicalis Kützing, Ulva lactuca Linnaeus, and Saccharina latissima (Linnaeus) J. V. Lamouroux using three different methods

    Harrysson, Hanna; Hayes, Maria; Eimer, Friederike; Carlsson, Nils-Gunnar; Toth, Gunilla B.; Undeland, Ingrid; Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research; Swedish Research Council Formas; 2820005; 21210034 (Springer Science, 2018-04-28)
    The demand for vegetable proteins increases globally and seaweeds are considered novel and promising protein sources. However, the tough polysaccharide-rich cell walls and the abundance of polyphenols reduce the extractability and digestibility of seaweed proteins. Therefore, food grade, scalable, and environmentally friendly protein extraction techniques are required. To date, little work has been carried out on developing such methods taking into consideration the structural differences between seaweed species. In this work, three different protein extraction methods were applied to three Swedish seaweeds (Porphyra umbilicalis, Ulva lactuca, and Saccharina latissima). These methods included (I) a traditional method using sonication in water and subsequent ammonium sulfate-induced protein precipitation, (II) the pH-shift protein extraction method using alkaline protein solubilization followed by isoelectric precipitation, and (III) the accelerated solvent extraction (ASE®) method where proteins are extracted after pre-removal of lipids and phlorotannins. The highest protein yields were achieved using the pH-shift method applied to P. umbilicalis (22.6 ± 7.3%) and S. latissima (25.1 ± 0.9%). The traditional method resulted in the greatest protein yield when applied to U. lactuca (19.6 ± 0.8%). However, the protein concentration in the produced extracts was highest for all three species using the pH-shift method (71.0 ± 3.7%, 51.2 ± 2.1%, and 40.7 ± 0.5% for P. umbilicalis, U. lactuca, and S. latissima, respectively). In addition, the pH-shift method was found to concentrate the fatty acids in U. lactuca and S. latissima by 2.2 and 1.6 times, respectively. The pH-shift method can therefore be considered a promising strategy for producing seaweed protein ingredients for use in food and feed.
  • Food Proteins and Bioactive Peptides: New and Novel Sources, Characterisation Strategies and Applications

    Hayes, Maria (MDPI, 2018-03-14)
    By 2050, the world population is estimated to reach 9.6 billion, and this growth continues to require more food, particularly proteins. Moreover, the Westernisation of society has led to consumer demand for protein products that taste good and are convenient to consume, but additionally have nutritional and health maintenance and well-being benefits. Proteins provide energy, but additionally have a wide range of functions from enzymatic activities in the body to bioactivities including those associated with heart health, diabetes-type 2-prevention and mental health maintenance; stress relief as well as a plethora of other health beneficial attributes. Furthermore, proteins play an important role in food manufacture and often provide the binding, water- or oil-holding, emulsifying, foaming or other functional attributes required to ensure optimum sensory and taste benefits for the consumer. The purpose of this issue is to highlight current and new protein sources and their associated functional, nutritional and health benefits as well as best practices for quantifying proteins and bioactive peptides in both a laboratory and industry setting. The bioaccessibility, bioavailability and bioactivities of proteins from dairy, cereal and novel sources including seaweeds and insect protein and how they are measured and the relevance of protein quality measurement methods including the Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) and Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) are highlighted. In addition, predicted future protein consumption trends and new markets for protein and peptide products are discussed.
  • Recovery of Polyphenols from Brewer’s Spent Grains

    Birsan, Rares; Wilde, Peter; Waldron, Keith; Rai, Dilip K.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2014027 (MDPI, 2019-09-07)
    The recovery of antioxidant polyphenols from light, dark and mix brewer’s spent grain (BSG) using conventional maceration, microwave and ultrasound assisted extraction was investigated. Total polyphenols were measured in the crude (60% acetone), liquor extracts (saponified with 0.75% NaOH) and in their acidified ethyl acetate (EtOAc) partitioned fractions both by spectrophotometry involving Folin–Ciocalteu reagent and liquid-chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods. Irrespective of the extraction methods used, saponification of BSG yielded higher polyphenols than in the crude extracts. The EtOAc fractionations yielded the highest total phenolic content (TPC) ranging from 3.01 ± 0.19 to 4.71 ± 0.28 mg gallic acid equivalent per g of BSG dry weight. The corresponding total polyphenols quantified by LC-MS/MS ranged from 549.9 ± 41.5 to 2741.1 ± 5.2 µg/g of BSG dry weight. Microwave and ultrasound with the parameters and equipment used did not improve the total polyphenol yield when compared to the conventional maceration method. Furthermore, the spectrophotometric quantification of the liquors overestimated the TPC, while the LC-MS/MS quantification gave a closer representation of the total polyphenols in all the extracts. The total polyphenols were in the following order in the EtOAc fractions: BSG light > BSG Mix > BSG dark, and thus suggested BSG light as a sustainable, low cost source of natural antioxidants that may be tapped for applications in food and phytopharmaceutical industries.
  • Distinct microbiome composition and metabolome exists across subgroups of elite Irish athletes

    O'Donovan, Ciara M.; Madigan, Sharon M.; Garcia-Perez, Isabel; Rankin, Alan; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; National Institute for Health Research; SFI/12/RC/2273; 13/SIRG/2160; et al. (2019-09-18)
    Objectives: The gut microbiome has begun to be characterised in athlete groups, albeit, to date, only across a subset of sports. This study aimed to determine if the gut microbiome and metabolome differed across sports classification groups (SCGs) among elite Irish athletes, many of whom were participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Methods: Faecal and urine samples were collected from 37 international level athletes. Faecal samples were prepared for shotgun metagenomic sequencing and faecal and urine samples underwent metabolomic profiling. Results: Differences were observed in the composition and functional capacity of the gut microbiome of athletes across SCGs. The microbiomes of athletes participating in sports with a high dynamic component were the most distinct compositionally (greater differences in proportions of species), while those of athletes participating in sports with high dynamic and static components were the most functionally distinct (greater differences in functional potential). Additionally, both microbial (faecal) and human (urine) derived metabolites were found to vary between SCGs. In particular cis-aconitate, succinic acid and lactate, in urine samples, and creatinine, in faeces, were found to be significantly different between groups. These differences were evident despite the absence of significant differences in diet, as determined using food frequency questionnaires, which were translated into nutrient intake values using FETA. Conclusions: Differences in the gut microbiome and metabolome between groups, in the absence of dietary changes, indicate a role for training load or type as a contributory factor. Further exploration of this hypothesis has the potential to benefit athletes, aspiring athletes and the general public.
  • Antioxidant, Antidiabetic, and Anticholinesterase Activities and Phytochemical Profile of Wedd.

    Faraone, Immacolata; Rai, Dilip K.; Russo, Daniela; Chiummiento, Lucia; Fernandez, Eloy; Choudhary, Alka; Milella, Luigi; Regione Basilicata; Fondazione Enrico Mattei DGR; Regional Project ALIMINTEGRA, GO NUTRIBAS; et al. (MDPI, 2019-08-03)
    Oxidative stress is involved in different diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. The genus Azorella includes about 70 species of flowering plant species; most of them are commonly used as food and in particular as a tea infusion in the Andean region of South America in folk medicine to treat various chronic diseases. Azorella glabra Wedd. aerial parts were firstly analyzed for their in vitro antioxidant activity using different complementary assays. In particular, radical scavenging activity was tested against biological neutral radical DPPH; ferric reducing power and lipid peroxidation inhibitory capacity (FRAP and Beta-Carotene Bleaching tests) were also determined. The Relative Antioxidant Capacity Index (RACI) was used to compare data obtained by different assays. Then, the inhibitory ability of samples was investigated against α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzymes involved in diabetes and against acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase enzymes considered as strategy for the treatment of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's diseases. Moreover, the phytochemical profile of the sample showing the highest RACI (1.35) and interesting enzymatic activities (IC50 of 163.54 ± 9.72 and 215.29 ± 17.10 μg/mL in α-glucosidase and acetylcholinesterase inhibition, respectively) was subjected to characterization and quantification of its phenolic composition using LC-MS/MS analysis. In fact, the ethyl acetate fraction derived from ethanol extract by liquid/liquid extraction showed 29 compounds, most of them are cinnamic acid derivatives, flavonoid derivatives, and a terpene. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report about the evaluation of significant biological activities and phytochemical profile of A. glabra, an important source of health-promoting phytochemicals.
  • Impact of pulsed electric field pre-treatment on nutritional and polyphenolic contents and bioactivities of light and dark brewer's spent grains

    Kumari, Bibha; Tiwari, Brijesh; Walsh, Des; Griffin, Tomás; Islam, Nahidul; Lyng, James G.; Brunton, Nigel; Rai, Dilip K.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; European Union; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-04-30)
    Pulsed electric field (PEF) pre-treatment, at 2.8 kV/cm with 3000 pulses of 20 μs pulse-width, was applied on brewer's spent grains (BSG) followed by aqueous extraction at 55 °C, 220 rpm for 16 h. PEF pre-treatment showed significantly increased yields (p < 0.05) of carbohydrate, protein, starch and reducing sugar in extracts from dark BSG compared to untreated samples. Light BSG extracts had significantly higher (p < 0.05) levels of free d-glucose and total free amino acids (18.5–33.3 and 21–25 mg/g dry weight extract (Dwe)), compared to dark extracts (5 and 1.2 mg/g Dwe respectively). Dark BSG extracts showed significantly higher (p < 0.05) total phenolics (3.97–4.88 mg GAE/g Dwe) compared to light BSG extracts (0.83–1.40 mg GAE/g Dwe). Furthermore, PEF treated light BSG showed higher antimicrobial activity with minimum inhibition concentration (MIC) of 50 and 25 mg/mL against Salmonella typhimurium and Listeria monocytogenes, respectively compared to the untreated extracts (>50 mg/mL) with lowest MIC value of 1.56 mg/mL against Staphylococcus aureus. All the BSG extracts induced the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) and chemokines (IL-8, MCP-1 and MIP-1α) confirming immunomodulatory activity.
  • Ultrasound-assisted extraction of polyphenols from potato peels: profiling and kinetic modelling

    Kumari, Bibha; Tiwari, Brijesh; Hossain, Mohammad B; Rai, Dilip K.; Brunton, Nigel; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; FIRM/11/F/050 (Wiley, 2017-02-14)
    Ultrasound‐assisted extraction (UAE) at 33 and 42 kHz has been investigated in the extraction of polyphenols from peels of two potato varieties, cream‐skinned Lady Claire (LC) and pink‐skinned Lady Rosetta (LR), commonly used in snack food production. Extraction efficacy between the UAE‐untreated (control) and the UAE‐treated extracts was assessed on the total phenolic content and antioxidant capacities (DPPH and FRAP). Application of UAE showed significantly higher recovery of phenolic compounds compared to solid–liquid extraction process alone. Lower ultrasonic frequency (33 kHz) was more effective in recovering polyphenols compared to 42 kHz ultrasonic treatment. The liquid chromatography‐tandem mass spectrometry revealed that chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid were the most prevalent phenolics in LR peels, whereas caffeic acid was dominant in LC peels. Peleg's equation showed a good correlation (R2 > 0.92) between the experimental values and the predicted values on the kinetics of UAE of phenolic compounds.
  • Optimisation and validation of ultra-high performance liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometry method for qualitative and quantitative analysis of potato steroidal alkaloids

    Hossain, Mohammad B; Rai, Dilip K.; Brunton, Nigel; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/050 (Elsevier, 2015-06-09)
    An ultra-high performance liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) method for quantification of potato steroidal alkaloids, namely α-solanine, α-chaconine, solanidine and demissidine was developed and validated. Three different column chemistries, i.e. ethylene bridged hybrid (BEH) C18, hydrophilic lipophilic interaction and amide columns, were assessed. The BEH C18 column showed best separation and sensitivity for the alkaloids. Validation data (inter-day and intra-day combined) for accuracy and recovery ranged from 94.3 to 107.7% and 97.0 to 103.5%, respectively. The accuracy data were within the acceptable range of 15% as outlined in the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) guidelines. The recovery data were consistent and reproducible with a coefficient of variation (CV) ranging from 6.2 to 9.7%. In addition, precision of the method also met the criteria of the USFDA with CV values lower than 15% even at lower limit of quantification (LLOQ), while the permissible variation is considered acceptable below 20%. The limit of detection and LLOQ of the four alkaloids were in the range of 0.001–0.004 μg/mL whereas the linearities of the standard curves were between 0.980 and 0.995.
  • Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Foods and Derived Products Containing Ellagitannins and Anthocyanins on Cardiometabolic Biomarkers: Analysis of Factors Influencing Variability of the Individual Responses

    García-Conesa, María-Teresa; Chambers, Karen; Combet, Emilie; Pinto, Paula; Garcia-Aloy, Mar; Andrés-Lacueva, Cristina; de Pascual-Teresa, Sonia; Mena, Pedro; Konic Ristic, Aleksandra; Hollands, Wendy; et al. (MDPI, 2018-02-28)
    Understanding interindividual variability in response to dietary polyphenols remains essential to elucidate their effects on cardiometabolic disease development. A meta-analysis of 128 randomized clinical trials was conducted to investigate the effects of berries and red grapes/wine as sources of anthocyanins and of nuts and pomegranate as sources of ellagitannins on a range of cardiometabolic risk biomarkers. The potential influence of various demographic and lifestyle factors on the variability in the response to these products were explored. Both anthocyanin- and ellagitannin-containing products reduced total-cholesterol with nuts and berries yielding more significant effects than pomegranate and grapes. Blood pressure was significantly reduced by the two main sources of anthocyanins, berries and red grapes/wine, whereas waist circumference, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose were most significantly lowered by the ellagitannin-products, particularly nuts. Additionally, we found an indication of a small increase in HDL-cholesterol most significant with nuts and, in flow-mediated dilation by nuts and berries. Most of these effects were detected in obese/overweight people but we found limited or non-evidence in normoweight individuals or of the influence of sex or smoking status. The effects of other factors, i.e., habitual diet, health status or country where the study was conducted, were inconsistent and require further investigation.
  • Current Status and Future Prospects of Marine Natural Products (MNPs) as Antimicrobials

    Choudhary, Alka; Naughton, Lynn; Montánchez, Itxaso; Dobson, Alan; Rai, Dilip K.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/009 (MDPI, 2017-08-28)
    The marine environment is a rich source of chemically diverse, biologically active natural products, and serves as an invaluable resource in the ongoing search for novel antimicrobial compounds. Recent advances in extraction and isolation techniques, and in state-of-the-art technologies involved in organic synthesis and chemical structure elucidation, have accelerated the numbers of antimicrobial molecules originating from the ocean moving into clinical trials. The chemical diversity associated with these marine-derived molecules is immense, varying from simple linear peptides and fatty acids to complex alkaloids, terpenes and polyketides, etc. Such an array of structurally distinct molecules performs functionally diverse biological activities against many pathogenic bacteria and fungi, making marine-derived natural products valuable commodities, particularly in the current age of antimicrobial resistance. In this review, we have highlighted several marine-derived natural products (and their synthetic derivatives), which have gained recognition as effective antimicrobial agents over the past five years (2012–2017). These natural products have been categorized based on their chemical structures and the structure-activity mediated relationships of some of these bioactive molecules have been discussed. Finally, we have provided an insight into how genome mining efforts are likely to expedite the discovery of novel antimicrobial compounds.
  • Profiling of Phytochemicals in Tissues from Sclerocarya birrea by HPLC-MS and Their Link with Antioxidant Activity

    Russo, Daniela; Kenny, Owen; Smyth, Thomas J.; Milella, Luigi; Diop, Moussoukhoye Sissokho; Rai, Dilip K.; Brunton, Nigel; Hossain, Mohammad B.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Hindawi, 2013-04-29)
    High performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) was employed to investigate the differences in phytochemicals in roots, bark, and leaf of Sclerocarya birrea (marula) for methanol and water extracts that exhibited the best antioxidant activities. As many as 36 compounds were observed in the extracts of these tissues of which 27 phenolic compounds were tentatively identified. The HPLC-MS/MS results showed flavonoid glycosides were prominent in leaf extracts while the galloylated tannins were largely in bark and root extracts. Four flavonoid glycosides that were reported for the first time in the marula leaf have been identified. The HPLC-MS/MS studies also illustrated different degrees (highest degree = 3) of oligomerisation and galloylation of tannins in the bark and root extracts.
  • Antioxidant Activity and Phytochemical Characterization of Senecio clivicolus Wedd.

    Faraone, Immacolata; Rai, Dilip K.; Chiummiento, Lucia; Fernandez, Eloy; Choudhary, Alka; Prinzo, Flavio; Milella, Luigi; University of Basilicata; D.G.R. 1490 (MDPI, 2018-09-29)
    Antioxidant phytochemicals play a key role in oxidative stress control and in the prevention of related disorders, such as premature aging, degenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential antioxidant activity and the phytochemical profile of Senecio clivicolus Wedd., a perennial shrub, belonging to the Asteraceae family. Despite the wide interest of this family, this specie has not been investigated yet. S. clivicolus aerial parts were extracted with 96% ethanol. Then, the ethanol extract was fractionated by liquid/liquid extraction using an increasing solvents polarity. Total polyphenol and terpenoid contents were measured. Moreover, the antioxidant activity was evaluated by six different complementary in vitro assays. The Relative Antioxidant Capacity Index (RACI) was used to compare data obtained by different tests. The sample showing the highest RACI was subjected to characterization and quantitation of its phenolic composition using LC-MS/MS analysis. The ethyl acetate fraction, investigated by LC-MS/MS analysis, showed 30 compounds, most of them are chlorogenic acid and flavonoid derivatives. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report about the evaluation of antioxidant activity and phytochemical profile of S. clivicolus, underlying the importance of this species as a source of health-promoting phytochemicals.
  • Antioxidant, Antidiabetic, and Anticholinesterase Activities and Phytochemical Profile of Azorella glabra Wedd

    Faraone, Immacolata; Rai, Dilip K.; Russo, Daniela; Chiummiento, Lucia; Fernandez, Eloy; Choudhary, Alka; Milella, Luigi; Regione Basilicata; Fondazione Enrico Mattei DGR; ALIMINTEGRA, GO NUTRIBAS; et al. (MDPI, 2019-08-03)
    Oxidative stress is involved in different diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. The genus Azorella includes about 70 species of flowering plant species; most of them are commonly used as food and in particular as a tea infusion in the Andean region of South America in folk medicine to treat various chronic diseases. Azorella glabra Wedd. aerial parts were firstly analyzed for their in vitro antioxidant activity using different complementary assays. In particular, radical scavenging activity was tested against biological neutral radical DPPH; ferric reducing power and lipid peroxidation inhibitory capacity (FRAP and Beta-Carotene Bleaching tests) were also determined. The Relative Antioxidant Capacity Index (RACI) was used to compare data obtained by different assays. Then, the inhibitory ability of samples was investigated against α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzymes involved in diabetes and against acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase enzymes considered as strategy for the treatment of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases. Moreover, the phytochemical profile of the sample showing the highest RACI (1.35) and interesting enzymatic activities (IC50 of 163.54 ± 9.72 and 215.29 ± 17.10 μg/mL in α-glucosidase and acetylcholinesterase inhibition, respectively) was subjected to characterization and quantification of its phenolic composition using LC-MS/MS analysis. In fact, the ethyl acetate fraction derived from ethanol extract by liquid/liquid extraction showed 29 compounds, most of them are cinnamic acid derivatives, flavonoid derivatives, and a terpene. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report about the evaluation of significant biological activities and phytochemical profile of A. glabra, an important source of health-promoting phytochemicals.

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