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Journal: Food chemistry


This article describes the nutrient and elemental composition, including residues of herbicides and pesticides, of 31 soybean batches from Iowa, USA. The soy samples were grouped into three different categories: (i) genetically modified, glyphosate-tolerant soy (GM-soy); (ii) unmodified soy cultivated using a conventional “chemical” cultivation regime; and (iii) unmodified soy cultivated using an organic cultivation regime. Organic soybeans showed the healthiest nutritional profile with more sugars, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose, significantly more total protein, zinc and less fibre than both conventional and GM-soy. Organic soybeans also contained less total saturated fat and total omega-6 fatty acids than both conventional and GM-soy. GM-soy contained high residues of glyphosate and AMPA (mean 3.3 and 5.7 mg/kg, respectively). Conventional and organic soybean batches contained none of these agrochemicals. Using 35 different nutritional and elemental variables to characterise each soy sample, we were able to discriminate GM, conventional and organic soybeans without exception, demonstrating “substantial non-equivalence” in compositional characteristics for ‘ready-to-market’ soybeans.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Glucose, Omega-3 fatty acid, Fat, Soybean, Saturated fat, Sucrose


Rhus coriaria L. (sumac) is an important crop widely used in the Mediterranean basin as a food spice, and also in folk medicine, due to its health-promoting properties. Phytochemicals present in plant foods are in part responsible for these consequent health benefits. Nevertheless, detailed information on these bioactive compounds is still scarce. Therefore, the present work was aimed at investigating the phytochemical components of sumac fruit epicarp using HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS in two different ionisation modes. The proposed method provided tentative identification of 211 phenolic and other phyto-constituents, most of which have not been described so far in R. coriaria fruits. More than 180 phytochemicals (tannins, (iso)flavonoids, terpenoids, etc.) are reported herein in sumac fruits for the first time. The obtained results highlight the importance of R. coriaria as a promising source of functional ingredients, and boost its potential use in the food and nutraceutical industries.

Concepts: Time, Nutrition, Plant, Citrus, Fruit, Spice, Sumac, Rhus


While mushrooms are the highest dietary source for the unique sulfur-containing antioxidant ergothioneine, little is known regarding levels of the major biological antioxidant glutathione. Thus, our objectives were to determine and compare levels of glutathione, as well as ergothioneine, in different species of mushrooms. Glutathione levels varied >20-fold (0.11-2.41mg/gdw) with some varieties having higher levels than reported for other foods. Ergothioneine levels also varied widely (0.15-7.27mg/gdw) and were highly correlated with those of glutathione (r=0.62, P<0.001). Both antioxidants were more concentrated in pileus than stipe tissues in selected mushrooms species. Agaricus bisporus harvested during the third cropping flush contained higher levels of ergothioneine and glutathione compared to the first flush, possibly as a response to increased oxidative stress. This study demonstrated that certain mushroom species are high in glutathione and ergothioneine and should be considered an excellent dietary source of these important antioxidants.

Concepts: Species, Antioxidant, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Glutathione, Mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, Agaricus


Saffron is one of the oldest and most expensive spices, which is often target of fraudulent activities. In this research, a new strategy of saffron authentication based on metabolic fingerprinting was developed. In the first phase, a solid liquid extraction procedure was optimized, the main aim was to isolate as maximal representation of small molecules contained in saffron as possible. In the second step, a detection method based on liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry was developed. Initially, principal component analysis (PCA) revealed clear differences between saffron cultivated and packaged in Spain, protected designation of origin (PDO), and saffron packaged in Spain of unknown origin, labeled Spanish saffron. Afterwards, orthogonal partial least square discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) was favorably used to discriminate between Spanish saffron. The tentative identification of markers showed glycerophospholipids and their oxidized lipids were significant markers according to their origin.

Concepts: Protein, Mass spectrometry, Multivariate statistics, Principal component analysis, Biochemistry, Tandem mass spectrometry, Linear discriminant analysis, The Unscrambler


The paper presents a real-time PCR method allowing the simultaneous detection of traces of black mustard (Brassica nigra) and brown mustard (Brassica juncea) in food. The primers and the probe target the B. nigra partial RT gene for reverse transcriptase from gypsy-like retroelement 13G42-26. The real-time PCR method does not show any cross-reactivity with other Brassicaceae species with the exception of white mustard. Low cross-reactivities with cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, rye and turmeric can be ignored because in common mustard containing foodstuffs these biological species are present in very low amounts. By analysing serially diluted DNA extracts from black and brown mustard, the DNA of both mustard species could be detected down to 0.1 pg. With 10 ng DNA per PCR tube the real-time PCR method allows the detection of 5 ppm black and brown mustard in brewed sausages.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Biology, Brassica, Medicinal plants, Mustard plant, Brassica juncea, Brassica nigra


Corn starch, potato starch, pea starch were impregnated with ionic gums (sodium alginate, CMC, and xanthan, 1% based on starch solids) and heat-treated in a dry state for 0, 2, or 4 h at 130°C. Effects of the dry heating on paste viscosity (RVA), microstructure and thermal properties were examined. Dry heat treatment with ionic gums reduced the pasting temperature of the three starches. Heating with xanthan increased the paste viscosity of corn and potato starch. With heat treatment, the paste viscosity of all the starch-sodium alginate mixtures decreased. Heating with CMC increased the paste viscosity of potato starch, but decreased that of corn and pea starch. After dry-heating, To, Tp and Tc of potato starch with ionic gums decreased significantly. SEM of potato starch with CMC showed that the gel structure got compacter after drying-heating. Heat treatment obviously improved the functional properties of the three starches.

Concepts: Starch, Maize, Potato, Polysaccharides, Edible thickening agents, Cornstarch, Potato starch, Waxy potato starch


A panel of reporter gene assays (RGAs) coupled with a single solid phase extraction (SPE) step was developed and used to screen bottled mineral water for the presence of four classes of endocrine disruptors (EDs), oestrogens, androgens, progestagens and glucocorticoids. Fourteen brands of bottled mineral water in triplicate (42 samples) were analysed. Overall, hormonal activity was found in 78% of the samples. Oestrogenic, androgenic, progestagenic and glucocorticoid activity was found in 38%, 38%, 36% and 55% of the samples, respectively at an average concentration of 10 ng/l 17β-estradiol equivalent (EEQ), 26 ng/l testosterone equivalent (TEQ), 123 ng/l progesterone equivalent (PEQ) and 13.5 ng/l hydrocortisone equivalent (HEQ). The level of oestrogenic, androgenic and progestagenic activity observed is not considered a matter of concern for the consumers' health. It is unknown whether the glucocorticoid levels observed are safe. The ED source, long term exposure and mixture effects remain to be investigated.

Concepts: Estrogen, Testosterone, Androgen, Steroid, Bottled water, Endocrine system, Adrenal cortex, Mineral water


The insulin-like and/or insulin-sensitising effects of Syzygium aqueum leaf extract and its six bioactive compounds; 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside, europetin-3-O-rhamnoside, phloretin, myrigalone-G and myrigalone-B were investigated in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. We observed that, S. aqueum leaf extract (0.04-5 μg/ml) and its six bioactive compounds (0.08-10 μM) at non-cytotoxic concentrations were effectively enhance adipogenesis, stimulate glucose uptake and increase adiponectin secretion in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Clearly, the compounds myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside and europetin-3-O-rhamnoside showed insulin-like and insulin-sensitising effects on adipocytes from a concentration of 0.08 μM. These compounds were far better than rosiglitazone and the other isolated compounds in enhancing adipogenesis, stimulating 2-NBDG uptake and increasing adiponectin secretion at all the concentrations tested. These suggest the antidiabetic potential of S. aqueum leaf extract and its six bioactive compounds. However, further molecular interaction studies to explain the mechanisms of action are highly warranted.

Concepts: Molecular biology, Cytoplasm, Concentration, Fat, Adipose tissue, Anti-diabetic drug, Adipocyte, Syzygium


A RP-HPLC method, developed for the separation and quantification of the most common genetic variants of bovine milk proteins, was successfully applied to the analysis of water buffalo milk. All the most common buffalo casein and whey proteins fractions, as well as their genetic variants, were detected and separated simultaneously in 40 min. Purified buffalo proteins were used as calibration standards and a total of 536 individual milk samples were analysed for protein composition. α(S1)-, α(S2)-, βγ-, and κ-casein were 32.2%, 15.8%, 36.5%, and 15.5%, respectively, of total casein content, whereas content of β-Lactoglobulin was approximately 1.3 times as high as that of α-Lactalbumin. The existence of a polymorphism of κ-casein was demonstrated in Mediterranean water buffalo and α(S1)- and κ-casein genetic variants were successfully detected by RP-HPLC.

Concepts: Nutrition, Whey protein, Milk, Butter, Chromatography, Cheese, Casein, Water Buffalo


Corn-broad bean spaghetti type pasta was made with a corn/broad bean flour blend in a 70:30 ratio, through an extrusion-cooking process (Brabender 10 DN single-screw extruder with a 3:1 compression ratio). The effect of temperature (T=80, 90 and 100°C) and moisture (M=28%, 31% and 34%) on the extrusion responses (specific consumption of mechanical energy and pressure) and the quality of this pasta-like product (expansion, cooking-related losses, water absorption, firmness and stickiness) was assessed. The structural changes of starch were studied by means of DSC and XRD. The extrusion-cooking process, at M=28% and T=100°C, is appropriate to obtain corn-broad bean spaghetti-type pasta with high protein and dietary fibre content and adequate quality. The cooking characteristics and resistance to overcooking depended on the degree of gelatinisation and formation of amylose-lipid complexes. The critical gelatinisation point was 46.55%; beyond that point, the quality of the product declines.

Concepts: Protein, Nutrition, Maize, Pasta, Flour, Vicia faba, Vicia, Starch gelatinization