12 January - 20 June 2016

Food Safety and Other News

21 May 2015

Study of quantitative changes of cereal allergenic proteins after food processing

Researchers from the Institute of Analytical Chemistry of the Academy of Science, Czech Republic have carried out a study to look at the effect of processing of wheat and barley on the levels of allergens. As the compounds of interest were proteins, they used proteomic techniques to measure them in both the original cereals and the processed products. 

The proteins were extracted with water from couscous, barley, wheat and malt.  They were then separated using one-dimensional SDS-PAGE, with the low molecular mass region being selected for further study. Seven of the identified proteins were known allergens and included members of the alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitor family (C1, CM3, CM16) as well as inhibitors of trypsin, alpha- amylase and chymotrypsin.  Using mass spectrometry in connection with the technique of isobaric tag, the relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) of proteins was determined.    

The research found that during couscous production, the level of wheat allergenic proteins decreased significantly (5 – 25 % of their initial content).  Amounts also decreased following barley malting though this was at levels a lot less than couscous.  Whilst the processing steps reduced the amounts of most allergenic proteins in barley and wheat, researchers noted however that allergens were still present at significant levels.  The method of analysis used proved to provide fast and reliable identification of cereal allergens and their levels. 


Coffee by products may have prebiotic, antimicrobial and antioxidant potential

The prebiotic, antimicrobial and antioxidant potential of coffee by products has recently been highlighted in a study by researchers from the University of Granada, Spain. Published in LWT – Food Science and Technology, scientists evaluated the in vitro antimicrobial, prebiotic and antioxidant activities of the combination of coffee spent grounds (CSG), coffee silverskins (CM) and coffee melanoidins (CM). They also evaluated the nutritional composition of three different commercial coffees by-products.   

Results showed that prebiotic activity was important in both CSG and CS, however the presence of coffee melanoidins interfered with such beneficial properties. CM did however exert strong antimicrobial activity that could be used in food products to help avoid growth of pathogenic bacteria. All three by-products were found to be highly antioxidant. A further finding was an increase in antioxidant and antimicrobial activity with the addition of sugar during coffee roasting, there was no effect on probiotic activity. Researchers therefore suggest that consideration should be given to the recycling of CSG, CS and CM in order to be used as a source of new food ingredients.


Researchers develop avocado powder for food and cosmetics

Scientists at The Group Functional Food Research (GAF) from National University in Medellin with support from the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation from Colciencias are looking to develop an avocado base powder for the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sector. The research is currently at an early stage of development.


New way to lower salt in food, retain taste

Researchers at the University of Nottingham a water-in-oil-in-water (WOW) emulsion that could reduce the salt content in food by 23.7% without impacting the taste. Wolf et al. hope that the emulsion they have created may contribute to reducing the salt content of food particularly in products such as sauces, salad dressings and soups. The researchers created the emulsion by emulsifying a solution of water and table salt with sunflower oil. Using polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), the internal water phase was stabilised and then emulsified with another water phase which had been stabilised with quinoa starch modified with octinyl succinic anhyride. Once in the mouth, the starch is broken down by amylase which breaks down the emulsion, releasing the salt solution.

Volunteers were asked to compare the quinoa-stabilised emulsion against an emulsion stabilised with a molecule that would not breakdown in the presence of amylase.  Results showed that the quinoa- stabilised emulsion was perceived to be more salty by the volunteers.

Using the water-in-oil-in-water emulsion, the researchers were able to reduce the salt content of a solution by 23.7% without affecting how salty the volunteers perceived the solution to be.

Additional funding has been awarded to extend the research.


How noise affects the palate: When flying, taste buds prefer savoury tomato

Scientists from Cornell University have found from a recent study that in a noisy environment (), the sense of taste is compromised.  The study involved 48 participants in a crossover experiment who sampled multiple concentrations of solutions of 5 prototypic tastants during conditions with or without broad spectrum auditory stimulation (representing airline cabin noise).The participants were asked to rate the intensity of the which represented the five basic tastes on the general Labeled Magnitude Scale. 

The results published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that there was no difference in intensity ratings of sour, salty or bitterness taste between the control and sound condition. However, the sweet taste intensity was rated lower and the perception of umami taste increased significantly during the experimental sound condition. The researchers hypothesize that this was due to the mechanostimulation of the chorda tympani nerve which transits directly across the tympanic membrane of the middle ear.

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