Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Optimal use of natural food antioxidants

The project concerns improving the quality, storage potential and nutritive value of processed foods vulnerable to oxidative changes by optimizing the use of antioxidants occurring naturally in foods. The project addresses the vital issue of oxidative changes which adversely affect flavour, colour and storage potential. Investigations on natural antioxidants include mechanisms of effect in foods, synergistic aspects, increasing bioavailability, in-vivo efficiency, and the effect of adding natural antioxidants in the form of foods, food concentrates or extracts on the quality of selected processed foods vulnerable to oxidative changes. Examples of some preliminary results are as follows. Extracts from tea, coffee, grape skin and rosemary were selected on the basis of a model study and were incorporated into meat balls stored at 4 C for 10 days. Rosemary and coffee extracts were the most effective in preventing the formation of secondary oxidation products in this test food. Additional studies are ongoing on potato flakes and dehydrated chicken meat. The measurable carotene and lutein contents of spinach increased after blanching indicating an improved physical availability. Sieving the spinach only had a minor effect on these constituents whereas mincing increased carotene content but had no effect on lutein. These results provided the basis for a controlled human intervention study on the bioavailability of carotenoids in processed spinach products and the data are currently being collated and analysed. Another human intervention study on the bioavailability of quercetin in apple and blackcurrant juices showed that about 0.5% of the quercetin intake (across a range of doses) was excreted in the urine. Urinary excretion of quercetin can be used, therefore, as a marker for intake, and in controlled human studies as a marker of availability

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