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9 Oct 13

**Folic acid deficiency can affect the health of future generations
**FSA publishes further beef product test results
**FSA research call – improving the geographical indexing of beef
**Can consuming a big breakfast help women with PCOS conceive?
**Diesel exhaust fumes may hamper honeybees’ ability to find flowers
**EU-funded project will investigate type-2 diabetes prevention through diet, exercise and lifestyle
**Even after it has metabolised in the body resveratrol remains effective against cancer
**US survey finds gaps in consumer knowledge on consumption of key nutrients
**Omega-3 may not help thinking skills in older women
**Type of wine glass determines how much you pour

**Folic acid deficiency can affect the health of future generations
Maternal folate deficiency is associated with an increased risk of congenital abnormalities in human. Findings published in the journal Cell are indicating that folic acid deficiency can affect not only the health of a child but also that of future generations.  Watson et al. investigated mice bred with a mutation in the methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) gene.  The gene is key to the normal progression of the folic acid cycle and, when mutated, it results in abnormal folic acid metabolism causing similar effects to dietary folic acid deficiency. These mice were then bred with normal mice.  Some of the offspring developed abnormalities such as heart defects and spina bifida.  The offspring without abnormalities where then mated with normal mice. The team found that the offspring of these mice had the same problems as the previous generations.  Watson et al. report that these effects occurred even though the pups and grandpups did not have the genetic mutation and did not suffer from folic acid deficiency suggesting that they were inherited not through DNA itself but through changes in the gene-switching system. It often thought that epigenetic marks were wiped clean after each generation, however the epigenetic system turns genes on and off through the addition of chemicals including methyl groups.  When the scientists investigated the DNA of the offspring they found widespread changes in methylation. (New Scientist)

**FSA publishes further beef product test results
The FSA has published the second quarterly industry results from the testing of beef products for horse meat or horse DNA. No results found horse meat/DNA at or above the 1% reporting threshold. The report includes 9,588 new results, of which 7,402 were submitted by ABP Food Group.  These figures include all test results submitted since the compilation of the first quarterly report, which was published in mid-June.  Catherine Brown, FSA Chief Executive, said: 'We have continued to work with industry and local authorities since the previous set of results were published, and there has been ongoing cooperation from the food industry. This second report finds that all results are negative for horse meat/DNA at the 1% level.'

RSSL’s DNA and Protein Laboratory can analyse products for the presence of horse/donkey meat using both ELISA and DNA methods. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**FSA research call – improving the geographical indexing of beef
The Food Standards Agency is issuing a research call for a beef-analysis project aimed at improving the geographical indexing of beef by extending the existing isotopic landscape map for the UK. The aim of the project, which will extend the data gathered from the British Beef Origin Project from 2007 to 2010, will be to provide a more complete map of isotopic markers from across Scotland, and potentially the rest of the UK.  This will allow enforcement authorities to blind-test samples of beef to establish if they are from Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland. It will also provide a screening test that will act as a useful indicator of potential fraudulent activity and assure consumers that they can be confident in the authenticity of the products they buy.

**Can consuming a big breakfast help women with PCOS conceive?
A study published in the journal Clinical Sciences by scientists from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has investigated polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), breakfast and fertility.  The underlying cause of PCOS is unknown however the condition is associated with hormonal imbalances leading to missed or absent periods, which, in turn, can make it hard for women to conceive.  These women have been found to have abnormal insulin levels and can have higher than normal levels of testosterone in the blood.  The study recruited 60 slim women aged between 25 and 39 with PCOS who consumed 1800 calories each day for 12 weeks.  Half of women consumed most of their calories at breakfast (980 kcal), whilst the other half consumed most at dinner (980 kcal). The scientists found that by the end of intervention half of the women in the breakfast group had ovulated at least once, compared to a fifth of the "dinner group".  Eating most of the daily calories at breakfast reduced levels of insulin by 8% and testosterone by 50% with no weight change. (NHS Choices)

**Diesel exhaust fumes may hamper honeybees’ ability to find flowers
A study published in Scientific Reports has reported that a chemical found in diesel exhausts may be hampering honeybees’ ability to find flowers.  The study by researchers from the University of Southampton notes that bees use floral odours to help them find and identify the flowers they target to forage for nectar.  To test the impact of diesel exhaust fumes on bees, the scientists made two mixtures of rapeseed flower scent, one with clean air and the other with group of chemicals found in diesel exhaust, known as NOx.  The rapeseed scent contained eight chemicals. The scent that was mixed with clean air was unaffected, however when mixed with diesel fumes, six of the eight chemicals in the rapeseed scent reduced in volume, while two disappeared altogether within minutes of mixing.   The researches then investigated whether the bees were affected by this change. When these odour chemicals were degraded by NOx, the bees were reported to be much less responsive to their smell and would not stick out their tongues.  Dr Newman added that the study highlighted the need to reduce pollution and improve air quality, in order to protect pollinating insects as well as improve human health.  (BBC)

**EU-funded project will investigate type-2 diabetes prevention through diet, exercise and lifestyle
An EU-funded project, headed by University of Copenhagen researchers, will investigate type-2 diabetes prevention through diet, exercise and lifestyle.   The project called PREVIEW aims to find the most effective combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle related to type-2 diabetes prevention.  The project's chief coordinator, Anne Raben, Professor at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport states: “We would like to find out if our current dietary and exercise recommendations are optimal as relates to type-2 diabetes, or whether another lifestyle and regimen is more effective. It could save billions in health care costs for society if we are able to find a formula for how to best prevent type-2 diabetes. In part, we will accomplish this through a large scale, three-year clinical research project with a group of participants from 8 nations, and also by studying data from a range of large demographic surveys.” The study will involve 2500 participants from Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.  The project will investigate two diet types and two forms of exercise. One diet will be based on current dietary recommendations with high carbohydrate, high amounts of fibre and a moderate protein intake; and the other diet will include a high protein intake and less, but more slowly absorbed carbohydrates. The two types of exercise included will be: one in which participants engage in moderately intense exercise for 150 minutes per week, for example a brisk walk; and another type that focuses on highly intensive exercise for 75 minutes a week, for example jogging. (Medical Xpress)

**Even after it has metabolised in the body resveratrol remains effective against cancer
A study published in Science Translational Medicine by Cancer Research UK-funded researchers at the University of Leicester's Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine has found that resveratrol remains effective at fighting cancer even when it has been metabolised by the body.  Resveratrol is metabolised into resveratrol sulphates where it is taken into the cells and broken down by enzymes into resveratrol again.   Using mice models, Brown et al. found that in fact resveratrol may be more effective once it has been generated from resveratrol sulphate than it is if it has never been metabolised.  This is because the concentrations achieved are higher. The scientists also discovered that resveratrol generated from resveratrol sulphate is able to slow the growth of cancer cells by causing them to digest their own internal constituents and also stops cancer cells from dividing.

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory is happy to discuss the analysis of resveratrol with clients. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**US survey finds gaps in consumer knowledge on consumption of key nutrients
A survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in the US has reported that consumers lack knowledge on perceived intake and consumption of key nutrients, including vitamin D, potassium, fibre and omega-3.  However the survey did find that 86% of consumers showed interest in learning more about functional foods for nutrition. The FIC survey found that nearly eight in 10 Americans (79 percent) say they are at least somewhat knowledgeable about nutrition, but the research found wide gaps between their perception of the adequacy of their diets and reality.  Sixty seven percent believed they fell short of meeting “all or nearly all” of their nutrient needs.  In a press release the IFIC states “A comparison between the survey’s findings about perceptions of diet adequacy (by specific nutrient) and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data shows wide chasms between how many believe their intakes are adequate versus the actual DRIs. For nutrients such as vitamin D (68 percent perception vs. 32 percent consumption), potassium (61 percent vs. less than 3 percent), and fibre (67 percent vs. 5 percent), the discrepancy between perception and reality is quite stark. The high percentage of consumers who are meeting their needs for B vitamins (60 percent perception vs. 90 percent consumption) is a testament to the value of functional foods, especially fortified foods, as providing a “functional fix.” (Food Product Design)

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Omega-3 may not help thinking skills in older women
Omega-3 fatty acids have often been reported to benefits a person's thinking skills, however a study published in Neurology has indicated that omega-3 fatty acid may not provide a protective effect in older women. The scientists recruited 2,157 women age 65 to 80 who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative clinical trials of hormone therapy. Annual tests during 6 years measured performance in 7 cognitive domains: fine motor speed, verbal memory, visual memory, spatial ability, verbal knowledge, verbal fluency, and working memory.  At baseline the participants blood samples were analysed for amounts of omega-3.  The researchers found no difference between the women with high and low levels of omega-3s in the blood at the time of the first memory tests. There was also no difference between the two groups in how fast their thinking skills declined over time.   While it remains unclear whether a diet rich in omega-3 fats may help protect against dementia or related conditions, some research has found omega-3 fats may help protect against heart disease.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Type of wine glass determines how much you pour
A study published in Substance Abuse and Misuse by Scientists from Iowa State and Cornell Universities have found that drinkers unintentionally pour larger servings when their glasses are wider, when the pourers hold them in their hands, and when the glassware matched the wine.  The scientists recruited 73 students who consumed at least one glass of wine a week.  The participants were asked to pour themselves a normal serving of wine at multiple settings.  The team manipulated environmental cues to measure their effects.  Size and shape, such as large, wide or standard of the wine glass were investigated, as well as if the participant subconsciously drank more when they anticipated a meal. Visual colour contrast was also investigated for example low contrast between the wine and the glass (white wine in a clear glass) or high contrast (red wine in a clear glass).  When glasses were wider, participants poured 11.9% more wine. The students poured 12.2% more wine when they were holding their glasses, compared to pouring into glasses placed on a table. When there was low contrast between the glass and the wine (white wine in a clear glass), participants poured 9.2% more wine than when there was high contrast (red wine in a clear glass).  At the end of the study, the participants were asked to rate each aspect which they felt impacted consumption.  They rated glass width, colour contrast, and glass-holding as most influential, which matched the scientists’ findings.

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