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Foods for diabetes and cognition

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FODIAC (Foods for diabetes and cognition)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2023-03-31

FODIAC aims to tackle diabetes and the associated impairment of the cognitive function among the elderly. The integrative dietary solution developed in FODIAC involves three main steps (i) the extraction and stabilization of functional ingredients (mainly polyphenols); (ii) the formulation into texture-adapted foods; and, (iii) the implementation into dietary strategies that will be tested on elderlies.

In FODIAC Universities and Research Institutions with different expertise in the mentioned technologies work together Companies through the food value chain to foster the transference of knowledge reducing the time to the market.

The first step (corresponding to WP1, WP2) involves the use of the following emerging micro/nano-biotechnologies: Ohmic heating, Colloidal Gas Aphrons, Polyelectrolyte Complexation, Vibrational spray-drying, and Electro-Hydrodynamic Atomisation. The objective is to develop the most suitable solutions to extract bioactive molecules with antidiabetic and cognitive-enhancing activity for the elderly, and improve their stability and compatibility with food matrices. In this two WPs the role of the industrial partners is to provide raw materials as source of bioactive and orientate the research considering the requirements for industrial implementation such as eco-friendly, highly efficient, cost-effective, and easy to scale up.

The second step, corresponding with WP3, involves the development of improved food formulations, with textures adapted for the consumption by the elderly, incorporating antidiabetic and cognitive cognitive-enhancing molecules as well as the assessment of their industrial technical feasibility. The main challenges to achieve in this pillar is to keep the maximum of the bioactivity and sensory properties in an industrial formulation.

Finally, the third step (WP4) aims to assess in clinical trial involving elderlies, the performance of the developed antidiabetic, cognitive-enhancing foods and diets.

Thus, FODIAC aims to go from low TRL developing new emerging technologies towards high TRL implementing effective dietary solutions.
The main scientific milestone achieved by FODIAC in this period is to have a precise knowledge about the conditions of different technologies that allow to optimized the process of extraction, encapsulation and applications of bioactives obtained from byproducts. The results obtained demonstrated both the feasibility of the process proposed at lab scale and the interest of the companies to implement these process in their plants. Also the project demonstrated the potential of bioactives to be used in food formulations as well as the application of these formulations in the development of beverages for elderlies. Finally, the project cover some trials with elderlies for assess the acceptance of soft drinks containing bioactive extracts.

More in particular, gas aphrons, ohmic heating and enzymatic treatments were the main technologies used for extraction bioactives from herbal extracts grape pomace, blackcurrent and other byproducts used as raw materials.

On the other hand, electrospinning and vibrational spray drying demonstrated to be the most suitable emergent processing technologies for encapsulating bioactives containing extracts in order to stabilize them and protect against harsh food processing conditions.

Regarding the incorporation of bioactive extracts in food formulations an intense study for searching the most suitable food matrix was developed together the industrial partners at FODIAC (mainly Decorgel, Sonae and Anfaco). Also the activity, stability and performance of these extracts and formulations was assayed

Finally, a set of nutritional interventions were designed working together Lund University and DomusVi in order to assess the efficacy of bioactive on the cognitive and glycemic status of elderlies. Thus, it was possible to perform several acceptance tests with elderlies using soft drinks containing blackcurrent extracts
Scientific and Technical impacts:

Optimization and understanding of the role of the operational variables in the composition, functional properties and characteristics of polyphenols extracts by using the following processes: ohmic heating, enzymatic assisted extraction and CGA and surfactant selection from different food byproducts and herbal extracts.

Understanding the properties of encapsulation polymeric matrices suitables for protect, stabilise and deliver polyphenol functionality by using electrospinning and vibrational spray drying

Development of methodologies for assessing functionality in polyphenols extract

Socioeconomic and societal impacts:

The project engaged raw materials producers, food manufacturers, retailers and Elderlies residences to improve the health of elderlies in particular facing two particular problems: diabetes and cognitive disorders. Up to my knowledge it was the first time that stakeholder from the whole value chain work together with academic partners to develop an industrial and commercial tailor made solution for elderlies involving the end users

A huge and broad interchange of information, good practices, learnings, technical formation and visions were achieved by means secondments between industrial and academic partners across the project

Several new projects and bi- and multilateral projects and activities are being developed among the partners as a consequence of the FODIAC network stablished.