Health and quality of life of the European citizens is threatened by degenerative diseases with increased social and health care expenses. The health gains of food consumed are an important key to tackle this challenge; by developing new healthier food products or ingredients to be included in daily meals. In both cases, consumer acceptance is important and healthy bioactive compounds (BC) naturally present in food provide a solution to meet the consumer demand for natural components. Glucosinolates are such important BC found in many food commodities like cruciferous vegetables (CV) as Brussels sprouts and are linked to a reduced risk of cancer. However, they can undergo unwanted enzymatic degradation upon conventional processing, like heat treatment, and negatively affect the beneficial gain. Hence, this project will pave the way for effective solutions to meet the need for new bioactive food products. High Pressure (HP) has the potential to retain the intact glucosinolates in CV by providing a mild processing method for a controlled myrosinase inactivation (enzyme that degrades glucosinolates) not previously used in industry for CV. Sprouts of Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera will provide a well-defined homogenous matrix with a cell structure suitable for mechanistic studies at a molecular level and are selected as the model plant matrix (PM). This will provide new insight into the mechanism behind the HP impact on PM necessary for future HP application. The research objetives are: 1) To establish the HP parameters to control the activity of myrosinase on glucosinolate degrading, 2) To reveal the mechanistic effect on and control of myrosinase activity during HP, 3) To establish the mechanistic description of HP on enzymes and BC in plant cells based on 1) & 2). Experimental methodologies and knowledge of the project group will allow us to reach the overall aim: to preserve BC in CV by creating new processing solutions through controlled enzyme inactivation.
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