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Foods, Volume 13, Issue 4 (February-2 2024) – 129 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Global food systems face challenges related to population growth, climate shifts, and geopolitical tensions. To tackle these hurdles, optimizing food production, embracing sustainability, and advancing technology are imperative, all while ensuring safety and consumers’ acceptance. The multifaceted future of food must involve sustainable production, resilient supply chains, alternative proteins, biotechnology, personalized nutrition, and a circular bioeconomy. From innovative farming to Industry 4.0 applications, a holistic perspective highlights the industry's evolution towards resilience and sustainability, emphasizing the need for comprehensive changes across the food supply chain. Together, stakeholders strive for a future of nutritious, eco-friendly food production, redefining consumption for a resilient global food system. View this paper
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11 pages, 1177 KiB  
Article
Technological and Safety Characterization of Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci Isolated from Sardinian Fermented Sausage Made by Ovine Meat
by Nicoletta P. Mangia, Michele Cottu, Maria Aponte, Marco A. Murgia, Maria E. Mura and Giuseppe Blaiotta
Foods 2024, 13(4), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040633 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 542
Abstract
Ripened sheep sausages are widely consumed in Italy, particularly in Sardinia. Despite their driving role in flavor and color development, coagulase-negative staphylococci in these products have been rarely investigated. A total of 70 CoNS cultures isolated from Sardinian sheep sausages were characterized by [...] Read more.
Ripened sheep sausages are widely consumed in Italy, particularly in Sardinia. Despite their driving role in flavor and color development, coagulase-negative staphylococci in these products have been rarely investigated. A total of 70 CoNS cultures isolated from Sardinian sheep sausages were characterized by rep-PCR and M13-RAPD typing and identified by 16S rDNA sequencing. S. xylosus and S. equorum accounted for more than 70% of the total isolates, whilst S. pasteuri (8.5%), S. succinus (2.8%), and S. haemolyticus (2.8%) were less represented. The genes encoding the synthesis of putrescine, tyramine, cadaverine, and histamine were evaluated by PCR. None of the strains hosted genes for decarboxylases, except one S. pasteuri strain that was potentially a tyramine-producer. Antibiotic resistance was evaluated, along with nitrate reductase, lipolytic, and proteolytic activity, in a pool of selected cultures. Resistance to the primary antibiotics was rather widespread. S. xylosus, S. equorum, and S. pasteuri strains were all resistant to amoxicillin and kanamycin. S. equorum strains were sensitive to all tested antibiotics. S. xylosus strains were all resistant to penicillin B. Conversely, all S. pasteuri strains were resistant to both ampicillin and penicillin B, and four out of five strains exhibited tetracycline resistance. The high variability in the production of sheep sausages makes the search for adjunct cultures of crucial relevance. According to this perspective, the characterization of the autochthonous CSN population represents the first step to approach a starter selection. Full article
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16 pages, 2435 KiB  
Article
A Culinary and Medicinal Gem: Exploring the Phytochemical and Functional Properties of Thai Basil
by Panita Prasongdee, Kakanang Posridee, Anant Oonsivilai and Ratchadaporn Oonsivilai
Foods 2024, 13(4), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040632 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 481
Abstract
This study aimed to comprehensively evaluate the potential health benefits of Thai basil extracts from two species, Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum and Ocimum basilicum cv. Jumbo 4320, by investigating their bioactivities, phytochemical composition, and in vitro antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antithrombotic activities. Thai basil [...] Read more.
This study aimed to comprehensively evaluate the potential health benefits of Thai basil extracts from two species, Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum and Ocimum basilicum cv. Jumbo 4320, by investigating their bioactivities, phytochemical composition, and in vitro antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antithrombotic activities. Thai basil extracts from two species (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum and cv. Jumbo 4320) were obtained using water, ethanol, and ethyl acetate. Phytochemical analysis revealed chlorophylls, carotenoids, and diverse phenolic compounds. Its water extract boasted the highest total phenolics (459.62 ± 3.07 mg GAE/100 g), outperforming ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts (171.20 ± 1.10 and 66.02 ± 0.99 mg GAE/100 g, respectively). The ethanol extract of Jumbo 4320 also reigned supreme in total flavonoids (557.12 ± 14.27 mg CE/100 g), surpassing its counterparts (209.07 ± 23.31 and 131.41 ± 0.37 mg CE/100 g). O. basilicum cv. Jumbo 4320 extracts exhibited superior antioxidant activity by various assays. Jumbo 4320′s water extract further dominated in the DPPH assay (IC50 48.52 ± 1.15 mg/mL), demonstrating superior free radical scavenging compared to ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts (IC50 60.54 ± 0.52 and 82.09 ± 3.18 mg/mL), respectively. While thyrsiflorum’s ethanol extract claimed the top spot in the FRAP assay (0.0186 ± 0.00 mmol Fe2+/g), Jumbo 4320′s water extract showcased the highest cellular antioxidant activity (80.62 ± 0.00% relative fluorescence intensity) in the DCFH-DA assay. Interestingly, Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum extracts demonstrated stronger antithrombotic activity at prolonging the prothrombin time at 78.3 ± 17.56 s. While the antimicrobial activity against most tested pathogens was limited, both species’ extracts inhibited Bacillus cereus. These findings suggest the potential of Thai basil extracts, particularly from Jumbo 4320, as functional food ingredients with antioxidant and antithrombotic properties. Full article
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20 pages, 753 KiB  
Article
Sensory Perception and Food-Evoked Emotions of Older Adults Assessing Microwave-Processed Meals with Different Salt Concentrations
by Maria Laura Montero, Lisa M. Duizer and Carolyn F. Ross
Foods 2024, 13(4), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040631 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
This study employed a home-use test to explore the sensory perception and evoked emotions of older adults in the assessment of chicken pasta meals with different salt concentrations. Ready-to-eat (RTE) meals with three salt levels (100%, 75%, and 50%) and two treatments—with and [...] Read more.
This study employed a home-use test to explore the sensory perception and evoked emotions of older adults in the assessment of chicken pasta meals with different salt concentrations. Ready-to-eat (RTE) meals with three salt levels (100%, 75%, and 50%) and two treatments—with and without added herbs—were tested. Multiple sensory attributes and overall meal liking were evaluated by participants (n = 54; 60–86 years of age) with hedonic and just-about-right scores. Twenty-five food-evoked emotions were also tested. Sensory results suggested a 50% salt reduction is possible with minimal impact on the overall liking, while a 25% salt reduction did not affect the saltiness and flavor liking of the meals. Herb addition positively impacted the aroma, flavor, and spiciness liking of the meals. The emotions that differed (p < 0.05) among meals were active, aggressive, bored, calm, happy, and wild, with the meals with herbs added eliciting more positive emotions. A questionnaire elicited information about participants’ interest in healthy eating, food technology neophobia, and picky behaviors to determine the influence of these factors on participants’ salt consumption habits. Sensory acceptance data combined with questionnaires explored what influenced this group of older adults in their acceptance of and interest in RTE meals. Full article
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19 pages, 2247 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Postharvest Quality and Antioxidant Capacity of Blue Honeysuckle cv. ‘Lanjingling’ with Chitosan and Aloe vera Gel Edible Coatings during Storage
by Jinli Qiao, Dalong Li, Liangchuan Guo, Xiaoqi Hong, Shuman He, Junwei Huo, Xiaonan Sui and Yan Zhang
Foods 2024, 13(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040630 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 645
Abstract
This study investigated the impact of chitosan (CH, 1%) and aloe vera gel (AL, 30%) edible coatings on the preservation of blue honeysuckle quality during a 28-day storage at −1 °C. Coating with CH, AL, and CH+AL led to notable enhancements in several [...] Read more.
This study investigated the impact of chitosan (CH, 1%) and aloe vera gel (AL, 30%) edible coatings on the preservation of blue honeysuckle quality during a 28-day storage at −1 °C. Coating with CH, AL, and CH+AL led to notable enhancements in several key attributes. These included increased firmness, total soluble solids, acidity, pH, and antioxidant capacity (measured through DPPH, ABTS, and FRAP assays), as well as the preservation of primary (ascorbic acid) and secondary metabolites (TPC, TAC, and TFC). The TAC and TFC levels were approximately increased by 280% and 17%, respectively, in coated blue honeysuckle after 28 d compared to uncoated blue honeysuckle. These coatings also resulted in reduced weight loss, respiration rate, color, abscisic acid, ethylene production, and malondialdehyde content. Notably, the CH+AL treatment excelled in preserving secondary metabolites and elevating FRAP-reducing power, demonstrating a remarkable 1.43-fold increase compared to the control after 28 days. Overall, CH+AL exhibited superior effects compared to CH or AL treatment alone, offering a promising strategy for extending the shelf life and preserving the quality of blue honeysuckle during storage. Full article
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17 pages, 2034 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Effects of High-Intensity Ultrasound Combined with L-Lysine for the Treatment of Porcine Myofibrillar Protein Regarding Solubility and Flavour Adsorption Capacity
by Yongkang Xie, De Chen, Jianxin Cao, Xuejiao Wang and Xiaoyu Yin
Foods 2024, 13(4), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040629 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 510
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the synergistic effects of high-intensity ultrasound (0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 min) in combination with L-lysine (15 mM) on improving the solubility and flavour adsorption capacity of myofibrillar proteins (MPs) in low-ion-strength media. The results revealed [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the synergistic effects of high-intensity ultrasound (0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 min) in combination with L-lysine (15 mM) on improving the solubility and flavour adsorption capacity of myofibrillar proteins (MPs) in low-ion-strength media. The results revealed that the ultrasound treatment for 20 min or the addition of L-lysine (15 mM) significantly improved protein solubility (p < 0.05), with L-lysine (15 mM) showing a more pronounced effect (p < 0.05). The combination of ultrasound treatment and L-lysine further increased solubility, and the MPs treated with ultrasound at 20 min exhibited the best dispersion stability in water, which corresponded to the lowest turbidity, highest absolute zeta potential value, and thermal stability (p < 0.05). Based on the reactive and total sulfhydryl contents, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy analysis, the ultrasound treatment combined with L-lysine (15 mM) promoted the unfolding and depolymerization of MPs, resulting in a larger exposure of SH groups on the surface, aromatic amino acids in a polar environment, and a transition of protein conformation from α-helix to β-turn. Moreover, the combined treatment also increased the hydrophobic bonding sites, hydrogen-bonding sites, and electrostatic effects, thereby enhancing the adsorption capacity of MPs to bind kenone compounds. The findings from this study provide a theoretical basis for the production and flavour improvement of low-salt MP beverages and the utilisation of meat protein. Full article
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34 pages, 6886 KiB  
Review
Research Progress on Extraction and Detection Technologies of Flavonoid Compounds in Foods
by Wen Li, Xiaoping Zhang, Shuanglong Wang, Xiaofei Gao and Xinglei Zhang
Foods 2024, 13(4), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040628 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Flavonoid compounds have a variety of biological activities and play an essential role in preventing the occurrence of metabolic diseases. However, many structurally similar flavonoids are present in foods and are usually in low concentrations, which increases the difficulty of their isolation and [...] Read more.
Flavonoid compounds have a variety of biological activities and play an essential role in preventing the occurrence of metabolic diseases. However, many structurally similar flavonoids are present in foods and are usually in low concentrations, which increases the difficulty of their isolation and identification. Therefore, developing and optimizing effective extraction and detection methods for extracting flavonoids from food is essential. In this review, we review the structure, classification, and chemical properties of flavonoids. The research progress on the extraction and detection of flavonoids in foods in recent years is comprehensively summarized, as is the application of mathematical models in optimizing experimental conditions. The results provide a theoretical basis and technical support for detecting and analyzing high-purity flavonoids in foods. Full article
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14 pages, 3617 KiB  
Article
Aegle marmelos (L.) Leaf Extract Improves Symptoms of Memory Loss Induced by Scopolamine in Rats
by Chanida Thongsopha, Thanasit Chaiwut, Pornnarez Thaweekhotr, Paiwan Sudwan, Noppadol Phasukdee and Ranida Quiggins
Foods 2024, 13(4), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040627 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 620
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease that results in memory impairment. Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa (AM) is used as a traditional medicine. AM leaves have the potential to inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity. This study used scopolamine to induce AD [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease that results in memory impairment. Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa (AM) is used as a traditional medicine. AM leaves have the potential to inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity. This study used scopolamine to induce AD in rats. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of AM leaf extract using this model. Motor and memory functions were tested by the motor activity and Morris water maze (MWM) tests, respectively. The density of the synaptophysin and dendritic spines in the CA1 were detected by immunofluorescence and Golgi impregnation, respectively. The hippocampal histology was reviewed by H&E staining. After the treatment, the latency times in the MWM tests of the AD groups reduced, while the motor activities showed no difference. The density of the synaptophysin of the AD groups increased after the treatments, and that of the dendritic spines also increased in all AD groups post-treatment. The hippocampal tissue also recovered. AM leaf extract can improve cognitive impairment in AD models by maintaining the presynaptic vesicle proteins and dendritic spines in a dose-dependent manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Foods)
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15 pages, 3190 KiB  
Article
The Pea Oligosaccharides Could Stimulate the In Vitro Proliferation of Beneficial Bacteria and Enhance Anti-Inflammatory Effects via the NF-κB Pathway
by Yongxia Cheng, Ruoqi Zhao, Mingwu Qiao, Yan Ma, Tiange Li, Ning Li, Yue Shen, Xianqing Huang and Lianjun Song
Foods 2024, 13(4), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040626 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 639
Abstract
The oligosaccharides extracted from the seeds of peas, specifically consisting of raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose, fall under the category of raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFOs). The effect of RFOs on intestinal microflora and the anti-inflammatory mechanism were investigated by in vitro fermentation and cell [...] Read more.
The oligosaccharides extracted from the seeds of peas, specifically consisting of raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose, fall under the category of raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFOs). The effect of RFOs on intestinal microflora and the anti-inflammatory mechanism were investigated by in vitro fermentation and cell experiments. Firstly, mouse feces were fermented in vitro and different doses of RFOs (0~2%) were added to determine the changes in the representative bacterial community, PH, and short-chain fatty acids in the fermentation solution during the fermentation period. The probiotic index was used to evaluate the probiotic proliferation effect of RFOs and the optimal group was selected for 16S rRNA assay with blank group. Then, the effects of RFOs on the inflammatory response of macrophage RAW264.7 induced by LPS were studied. The activity of cells, the levels of NO, ROS, inflammatory factors, and the expression of NF-κB, p65, and iNOS proteins in related pathways were measured. The results demonstrated that RFOs exerted a stimulatory effect on the proliferation of beneficial bacteria while concurrently inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Moreover, RFOs significantly enhanced the diversity of intestinal flora and reduced the ratio of Firmicutes-to-Bacteroides (F/B). Importantly, it was observed that RFOs effectively suppressed NO and ROS levels, as well as inflammatory cytokine release and expression of NF-κB, p65, and iNOS proteins. These findings highlight the potential of RFOs in promoting intestinal health and ameliorating intestinal inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutraceuticals, Functional Foods, and Novel Foods)
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19 pages, 3645 KiB  
Article
Efficient and Selective Extraction of Rhamnogalacturonan-I-Enriched Pectic Polysaccharides from Tartary Buckwheat Leaves Using Deep-Eutectic-Solvent-Based Techniques
by Ding-Tao Wu, Jing Lei, Jie Li, Mei-Mei Qu Mo, Wen-Bing Li, Yu-Jing Huang, Yi-Chen Hu, Ai-Li Wang and Liang Zou
Foods 2024, 13(4), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040625 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Tartary buckwheat green leaves are considered to be among the most important by-products in the buckwheat industry. Although Tartary buckwheat green leaves are abundant in pectic polysaccharides, their potential applications in the food industry are quite scarce. Therefore, to promote their potential applications [...] Read more.
Tartary buckwheat green leaves are considered to be among the most important by-products in the buckwheat industry. Although Tartary buckwheat green leaves are abundant in pectic polysaccharides, their potential applications in the food industry are quite scarce. Therefore, to promote their potential applications as functional or fortified food ingredients, both deep-eutectic-solvent-assisted extraction (DESE) and high-pressure-assisted deep eutectic solvent extraction (HPDEE) were used to efficiently and selectively extract pectic polysaccharides from Tartary buckwheat green leaves (TBP). The results revealed that both the DESE and HPDEE techniques not only improved the extraction efficiency of TBP but also regulated its structural properties and beneficial effects. The primary chemical structures of TBP extracted using different methods were stable overall, mainly consisting of homogalacturonan and rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I) pectic regions. However, both the DESE and HPDEE methods could selectively extract RG-I-enriched TBP, and the proportion of the RG-I pectic region in TBP obviously improved. Additionally, both the DESE and HPDEE methods could improve the antioxidant and anti-glycosylation effects of TBP by increasing its proportion of free uronic acids and content of bound polyphenolics and reducing its molecular weight. Moreover, both the DESE and HPDEE methods could partially intensify the immunostimulatory effect of TBP by increasing its proportion of the RG-I pectic region. These findings suggest that DES-based extraction techniques, especially the HPDEE method, can be promising techniques for the efficient and selective extraction of RG-I-enriched TBP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Extracts as Functional Food Ingredients)
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16 pages, 7143 KiB  
Article
Emulsification Characteristics of Insoluble Dietary Fibers from Pomelo Peel: Effects of Acetylation, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, and Wet Ball Milling
by Kuimin Yang, Jieqiong Yao, Kaixin Shi, Chenxi Yang, Yang Xu, Peipei Zhang and Siyi Pan
Foods 2024, 13(4), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040624 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
To improve the application potential of pomelo peel insoluble dietary fiber (PIDF) in emulsion systems, acetylation (PIDF-A), cellulase hydrolysis (PIDF-E), and wet ball milling (PIDF-M) were investigated in this paper as methods to change the emulsification properties of PIDF. The impact of the [...] Read more.
To improve the application potential of pomelo peel insoluble dietary fiber (PIDF) in emulsion systems, acetylation (PIDF-A), cellulase hydrolysis (PIDF-E), and wet ball milling (PIDF-M) were investigated in this paper as methods to change the emulsification properties of PIDF. The impact of the methods on PIDF composition, structure, and physicochemical properties was also assessed. The results demonstrated that both acetylation modification and cellulase hydrolysis could significantly improve the emulsification properties of PIDF. The emulsions stabilized with PIDF-A and PIDF-E could be stably stored at 25 °C for 30 d without phase separation at particle concentrations above 0.8% (w/v) and had higher storage stability: The D4,3 increments of PIDF-A- and PIDF-E-stabilized emulsions were 0.98 μm and 0.49 μm, respectively, at particle concentrations of 1.2% (w/v), while the storage stability of PIDF-M-stabilized emulsion (5.29 μm) significantly decreased compared with that of PIDF (4.00 μm). Moreover, PIDF-A showed the highest water retention capacity (21.84 g/g), water swelling capacity (15.40 mL/g), oil retention capacity (4.67 g/g), and zeta potential absolute (29.0 mV) among the PIDFs. In conclusion, acetylation modification was a promising method to improve the emulsifying properties of insoluble polysaccharides. Full article
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11 pages, 3716 KiB  
Article
Unraveling the Physicochemical Properties and Bacterial Communities in Rabbit Meat during Chilled Storage
by Zhoulin Wu, Maoqin Xu, Wei He, Xiaoyu Li, Chaoqing Qiu and Jiamin Zhang
Foods 2024, 13(4), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040623 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 527
Abstract
The freshness and bacterial communities of fresh and salted rabbit meat during 8 days of refrigerated storage at 4 °C were evaluated. The results showed that the addition of 2% salt significantly changed the color of meat, of which the lightness (L*), redness [...] Read more.
The freshness and bacterial communities of fresh and salted rabbit meat during 8 days of refrigerated storage at 4 °C were evaluated. The results showed that the addition of 2% salt significantly changed the color of meat, of which the lightness (L*), redness (a*), and yellowness (b*) were lower than that of fresh meat over time. The pH of all samples increased during storage, and meat with salt addition had lower values in comparison to fresh samples over time. The total volatile base nitrogen (TVB-N) concentration increased rapidly in salt-treated meat but was significantly (p < 0.05) lower than that in meat without salt added before 6 days. Over time, the content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) showed a progressive trend, but a rapid increase occurred in salted meat. High-throughput sequencing showed that the microflora of each sample had a positive trend in alpha diversity and a negative trend in beta diversity. Bacterial taxonomic analysis indicated that the initial microbial flora for chilled rabbit meat was dominated by Shigaella, Bacteroides, and Lactococcus, and the population of Brochothrix and Psychrobacter increased over time and became the dominant spoilage bacterium. In particular, the addition of salt significantly reduced the abundance of Psychrobacter and Brochothrix. These findings might provide valuable information regarding the quality monitoring of rabbit meat during chilled storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Meat)
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17 pages, 12227 KiB  
Article
Modulation the Synergistic Effect of Chitosan-Sodium Alginate Nanoparticles with Ca2+: Enhancing the Stability of Pickering Emulsion on D-Limonene
by Qian Li, Rui Li, Fanxing Yong, Qiaoli Zhao, Jing Chen, Xing Lin, Ziyu Li, Zhuo Wang, Baojun Xu and Saiyi Zhong
Foods 2024, 13(4), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040622 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Pickering emulsions (PEs) have been regarded as an effective approach to sustaining and preserving the bioactivities of essential oils. The aim of this research is to prepare a PE stabilized by chitosan/alginate nanoparticles (CS-SA NPs) for the encapsulation and stabilization of D-limonene. In [...] Read more.
Pickering emulsions (PEs) have been regarded as an effective approach to sustaining and preserving the bioactivities of essential oils. The aim of this research is to prepare a PE stabilized by chitosan/alginate nanoparticles (CS-SA NPs) for the encapsulation and stabilization of D-limonene. In this work, the influence of calcium ions (Ca2+) on the morphology and interaction of nanoparticles was studied, and then the preparation technology of CS-SA/Ca2+ NPs was optimized. The results showed that the presence of Ca2+ reduced the size of the nanoparticles and made them assume a spherical structure. In addition, under the conditions of 0.2 mg/mL CaCl2, 0.6 mg/mL SA, and 0.4 mg/mL CS, the CS-SA/Ca2+ NPs had the smallest size (274 ± 2.51 nm) and high stability (−49 ± 0.69 mV). Secondly, the PE was prepared by emulsifying D-limonene with CS-SA/Ca2+ NPs, and the NP concentrations and homogenization speeds were optimized. The results showed that the small droplet size PE could be prepared with 2 mg/mL NP and a homogenization speed of 20,000 r/min, and it had excellent antibacterial and antioxidant activities. Most importantly, the emulsion showed higher activity, higher resistance to ultraviolet (UV) and a higher temperature than free D-limonene. This research provides a feasible solution for the encapsulation, protection and delivery of essential oils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Physics and (Bio)Chemistry)
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12 pages, 2779 KiB  
Article
Evaluation Method of Texture of Glutinous Rice Cakes (Niangao) and Its Key Impact Indicators
by Qingyun Lyu, Xing Wang, Yunzhuo Dang, Lijie Zhu, Lei Chen, Xuedong Wang and Wenping Ding
Foods 2024, 13(4), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040621 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 522
Abstract
This study aimed to find a unique method to assess the textural properties of Niangao (glutinous rice cakes), to determine the relationship between the textural properties of rice cakes and the indicators of glutinous rice, and to identify the key indicators that significantly [...] Read more.
This study aimed to find a unique method to assess the textural properties of Niangao (glutinous rice cakes), to determine the relationship between the textural properties of rice cakes and the indicators of glutinous rice, and to identify the key indicators that significantly affect the textural properties of Niangao. The study encompassed the analysis of the chemical composition and pasting characteristics of 22 glutinous rice varieties, revealing the substantial impact of variety on lipid content, straight-chain starch content, and pasting performance. Subsequently, the textural features of the resulting Niangao were subjected to principal component analysis (PCA) to derive a mathematical method for evaluating their textural attributes, with the obtained scores employed in hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) to identify 12 key textural characteristics. Further analysis using stepwise linear regression (SLR) demonstrated that the regression model incorporating final and peak viscosities of the glutinous rice significantly predicted the composite score of the Niangao’s textural properties. This highlights the importance of final and peak viscosities as key indicators for assessing the textural quality of Niangao. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Cereals and Cereal-Based Foods (Volume III))
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12 pages, 2148 KiB  
Article
Rapid Determination of Different Ripening Stages of Occidental Pears (Pyrus communis L.) by Volatile Organic Compounds Using Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS)
by Yuanmo Wang, Qingzhen Zhu, Songzhong Liu, Leizi Jiao and Daming Dong
Foods 2024, 13(4), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040620 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 728
Abstract
Determination of Occidental pear (Pyrus communis) ripening is difficult because the appearance of Occidental pears does not change significantly during the ripening process. Occidental pears at different ripening stages release different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be used to determine [...] Read more.
Determination of Occidental pear (Pyrus communis) ripening is difficult because the appearance of Occidental pears does not change significantly during the ripening process. Occidental pears at different ripening stages release different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be used to determine fruit ripeness non-destructively and rapidly. In this study, VOCs were detected using proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). Notably, data were acquired within 1 min. Occidental pears harvested at five separate times were divided into three ripening stages: unripe, ripe, and overripe. The results showed that the composition of VOCs differed depending on the ripening stage. In particular, the concentrations of esters and terpenes significantly increased during the overripe stage. Three ripening stages were clearly discriminated by heatmap clustering and principal component analysis (PCA). This study provided a rapid and non-destructive method to evaluate the ripening stages of Occidental pears. The result can help fruit farmers to decide the optimum harvest time and hence reduce their economic losses. Full article
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13 pages, 3049 KiB  
Article
Microproteomic-Based Analysis of the Goat Milk Protein Synthesis Network and Casein Production Evaluation
by Li Chen, Hiroaki Taniguchi and Emilia Bagnicka
Foods 2024, 13(4), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040619 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 563
Abstract
Goat milk has been consumed by humans since ancient times and is highly nutritious. Its quality is mainly determined by its casein content. Milk protein synthesis is controlled by a complex network with many signal pathways. Therefore, the aim of our study is [...] Read more.
Goat milk has been consumed by humans since ancient times and is highly nutritious. Its quality is mainly determined by its casein content. Milk protein synthesis is controlled by a complex network with many signal pathways. Therefore, the aim of our study is to clearly depict the signal pathways involved in milk protein synthesis in goat mammary epithelial cells (GMECs) using state-of-the-art microproteomic techniques and to identify the key genes involved in the signal pathway. The microproteomic analysis identified more than 2253 proteins, with 323 pathways annotated from the identified proteins. Knockdown of IRS1 expression significantly influenced goat casein composition (α, β, and κ); therefore, this study also examined the insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) gene more closely. A total of 12 differential expression proteins (DEPs) were characterized as upregulated or downregulated in the IRS1-silenced sample compared to the negative control. The enrichment and signal pathways of these DEPs in GMECs were identified using GO annotation and KEGG, as well as KOG analysis. Our findings expand our understanding of the functional genes involved in milk protein synthesis in goats, paving the way for new approaches for modifying casein content for the dairy goat industry and milk product development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Milk and Dairy Products: Quality and Sustainability)
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17 pages, 6844 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Physicochemical Analysis of Camellia sinensis cv. ‘Ziyan’ Anthocyanin Microcapsules
by Ruixin Xue, Xiang Yuan, Hong Jiang, Hong Huang, Xiaocong Luo and Pinwu Li
Foods 2024, 13(4), 618; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040618 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 687
Abstract
The new tea cultivar Ziyan has a high content of anthocyanin and ester catechins in the raw material, but the conventional processing and application methods are limited. To explore its application potential, the freeze-drying method was used to prepare microcapsules with an embedding [...] Read more.
The new tea cultivar Ziyan has a high content of anthocyanin and ester catechins in the raw material, but the conventional processing and application methods are limited. To explore its application potential, the freeze-drying method was used to prepare microcapsules with an embedding time of 30 min, solid content of 30%, and core to wall ratio of 1:10 (g/g). The anthocyanin recovery was 95.94 ± 0.50%, and the encapsulation efficiency was 96.15 ± 0.11%. The stability of microcapsules and composite wall materials was evaluated in the simulation system. Results showed that microcapsules employing a maltodextrin–gum arabic ratio of 2:8 (w/w) as the wall material significantly reduced degradation rates, extending anthocyanin half-life under various storage conditions. Characterization indicated improved physical properties of Ziyan anthocyanin powder post-microencapsulation. FT-IR and DSC- revealed the formation of a new phase between anthocyanins and wall materials, leading to increased enthalpy and enhanced thermal stability. The microencapsulation results of this experiment proved that the storage stability of anthocyanin was effectively enhanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Physics and (Bio)Chemistry)
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4 pages, 170 KiB  
Editorial
Formation, Occurrence and Mitigation Strategies of Food Contaminants and Natural Toxicants: Challenges and Prospects
by Song Yu
Foods 2024, 13(4), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040617 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Food safety issues arising from food contaminants are one of the major challenges to global public health [...] Full article
16 pages, 1709 KiB  
Article
Production of Acid and Rennet-Coagulated Cheese Enriched by Olive (Olea europaea L.) Leaf Extract—Determining the Optimal Point of Supplementation and Its Effects on Curd Characteristics
by Elizabeta Zandona, Lucija Vranković, Sandra Pedisić, Tomislava Vukušić Pavičić, Ana Dobrinčić, Nives Marušić Radovčić, Katarina Lisak Jakopović, Marijana Blažić and Irena Barukčić Jurina
Foods 2024, 13(4), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040616 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
This study investigated the potential of olive leaf extract (OLE), as a functional ingredient, to improve cheese properties, because it is rich in phenols. Milk and dairy products are poor in phenolic compounds. The main objective was to determine the most effective coagulation [...] Read more.
This study investigated the potential of olive leaf extract (OLE), as a functional ingredient, to improve cheese properties, because it is rich in phenols. Milk and dairy products are poor in phenolic compounds. The main objective was to determine the most effective coagulation method and timing of OLE supplementation to maximize retention in the cheese matrix. Experimental cheeses were produced using the rennet and acid coagulation methods, with OLE added either directly to the cheese milk or to the curd phase. Three OLE effective concentrations corresponding to 25%, 50%, and 75% inhibition of DPPH reagent (EFC25, EFC50, and EFC75, respectively) were added, i.e., 11.5 mg GAE L−1, 16.6 mg GAE L−1, and 26.3 mg GAE L−1, respectively. The results showed that OLE significantly increased the concentration of total phenols, total flavonoids, and antioxidant activity in all cheese samples and in the residual whey, especially at higher effective concentrations (EFC 50 and EFC 75). Rennet-coagulated cheese to which OLE was added prior to coagulation (EM 25, EM 50, EM 75) exhibited higher hardness, gumminess, and chewiness but lower elasticity, suggesting alterations in the paracasein matrix. OLE did not adversely affect acidity, water activity, or cheese yield. However, higher EFC resulted in significant colour changes (∆E* > 3.0). In conclusion, the enrichment of cheesemaking milk with OLE and the application of the rennet coagulation method are the most suitable to optimise the production of OLE-enriched cheese. This research shows the potential to improve the nutritional value of cheese while maintaining its desired characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Cheese and Fermented Milk Production)
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19 pages, 4254 KiB  
Article
Improving the Storage Stability of Soy Protein Isolate through Annealing
by Shenzhong Zou, Zhaojun Wang, Maomao Zeng, Zhiyong He and Jie Chen
Foods 2024, 13(4), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040615 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 598
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of annealing treatment on the stability of soy protein isolate (SPI) during storage. Different SPI samples with varying denaturation levels were subjected to varying annealing temperatures and durations before being stored at 37 °C for 12 weeks to [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effect of annealing treatment on the stability of soy protein isolate (SPI) during storage. Different SPI samples with varying denaturation levels were subjected to varying annealing temperatures and durations before being stored at 37 °C for 12 weeks to assess their stability. Our findings revealed that annealing at 65 °C for 30 min significantly mitigated protein deterioration, improving the stability of highly denatured proteins during storage. Surface hydrophobicity and endogenous fluorescence analyses indicated that this annealing condition induced protein structure unfolding, an initial increase in SPI hydrophobicity, and a blue shift in the maximum absorption wavelength (λmax). The slowest increase in hydrophobicity occurred during storage, along with a red shift in the maximum absorption wavelength by the 12th week. These results suggest that annealing treatment holds promise for mitigating the issue of reduced SPI stability during storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Packaging and Preservation)
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16 pages, 2587 KiB  
Article
Exploring Nutrient Profiles, Phytochemical Composition, and the Antiproliferative Activity of Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma leucocontextum: A Comprehensive Comparative Study
by Guoqin Peng, Chuan Xiong, Xianfu Zeng, Ya Jin and Wenli Huang
Foods 2024, 13(4), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040614 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 686
Abstract
Ganoderma, often hailed as a holistic “health package”, comprises an array of nutritional components and active compounds, contributing to its esteemed status in the realm of healthy foods. In this study, a comprehensive analysis was performed to elucidate the diverse nutritional profiles, [...] Read more.
Ganoderma, often hailed as a holistic “health package”, comprises an array of nutritional components and active compounds, contributing to its esteemed status in the realm of healthy foods. In this study, a comprehensive analysis was performed to elucidate the diverse nutritional profiles, bioactive components, and antiproliferative activities between two Ganoderma species: G. lucidum (GLU) and G. leucocontextum (GLE). The results showed that GLE possessed a higher level of nutritional constituents, except for dietary fiber. Fatty acid analysis revealed comparable profiles rich in unsaturated fatty acids for both species. The ethanol extract of GLU and GLE exhibited potent antioxidant capabilities and remarkable inhibition of tumor cell proliferation via apoptosis induction, with greater potency in GLE. The heightened triterpene levels in GLE potentially contribute to its augmented antitumoral effects. The exploration emphasized the significance of comprehending the varied chemical compositions of Ganoderma species, providing insights into their potential health benefits applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Food Bioactive Compounds as Health Promoters)
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13 pages, 3404 KiB  
Article
The Quality Evaluation of Highland Barley and Its Suitability for Chinese Traditional Tsampa Processing
by Hu Xia, Bo Yu, Yanting Yang, Yan Wan, Liang Zou, Lianxin Peng, Lidan Lu and Yuanhang Ren
Foods 2024, 13(4), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040613 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 514
Abstract
The physicochemical traits of highland barley prominently affect the quality of Tsampa. To find out the relevance between the physicochemical properties of raw material and the texture parameters of processed products, twenty-five physicochemical traits and ten quality parameters for seventy-six varieties of highland [...] Read more.
The physicochemical traits of highland barley prominently affect the quality of Tsampa. To find out the relevance between the physicochemical properties of raw material and the texture parameters of processed products, twenty-five physicochemical traits and ten quality parameters for seventy-six varieties of highland barley were measured and analyzed. The results showed that there was a significant difference between the physicochemical indexes for highland barleys of various colors. The dark highland barley generally has more fat, protein, total dietary fiber, phenolic, Mg, K, Ca, and Zn and less amylose, Fe, Cu, and Mo than light colored barley. Then, these highland barleys were made into Tsampa. A comprehensive quality evaluation model based on the color and texture parameters of Tsampa was established through principal component analysis. Then, cluster analysis was used to classify the tested samples into three edible quality grades predicated on the above evaluation model. At last, the regression analysis was applied to establish a Tsampa quality predictive model according to the physicochemical traits of the raw material. The results showed that amylose, protein, β-Glucan, and a* and b* could be used to predict the comprehensive quality of Tsampa. The predicted results indicated that 11 of 14 validated samples were consistent with the actual quality, and the accuracy was above 78.57%. Our study built the approach of the appropriate processing varieties evaluation. It may provide reference for processing specific highland barley. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Quality and Safety)
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19 pages, 10230 KiB  
Article
Screening of Active Substances Regulating Alzheimer’s Disease in Ginger and Visualization of the Effectiveness on 6-Gingerol Pathway Targets
by Yecan Pan, Zishu Li, Xiaoyu Zhao, Yang Du, Lin Zhang, Yushun Lu, Ling Yang, Yilin Cao, Jing Qiu and Yongzhong Qian
Foods 2024, 13(4), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040612 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1232
Abstract
Ginger has been reported to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but the specific compounds responsible for this biological function and their mechanisms are still unknown. In this study, a combination of network pharmacology, molecular docking, and dynamic simulation technology was used to screen [...] Read more.
Ginger has been reported to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but the specific compounds responsible for this biological function and their mechanisms are still unknown. In this study, a combination of network pharmacology, molecular docking, and dynamic simulation technology was used to screen active substances that regulate AD and explore their mechanisms. The TCMSP, GeneCards, OMIM, and DisGeNET databases were utilized to obtain 95 cross-targets related to ginger’s active ingredients and AD as key targets. A functional enrichment analysis revealed that the pathways in which ginger’s active substances may be involved in regulating AD include response to exogenous stimuli, response to oxidative stress, response to toxic substances, and lipid metabolism, among others. Furthermore, a drug-active ingredient–key target interaction network diagram was constructed, highlighting that 6-Gingerol is associated with 16 key targets. Additionally, a protein–protein interaction (PPI) network was mapped for the key targets, and HUB genes (ALB, ACTB, GAPDH, CASP3, and CAT) were identified. Based on the results of network pharmacology and cell experiments, 6-Gingerol was selected as the active ingredient for further investigation. Molecular docking was performed between 6-Gingerol and its 16 key targets, and the top three proteins with the strongest binding affinities (ACHE, MMP2, and PTGS2) were chosen for molecular dynamics analysis together with the CASP3 protein as the HUB gene. The findings indicate that 6-Gingerol exhibits strong binding ability to these disease targets, suggesting its potential role in regulating AD at the molecular level, as well as in abnormal cholinesterase metabolism and cell apoptosis, among other related regulatory pathways. These results provide a solid theoretical foundation for future in vitro experiments using actual cells and animal experiments to further investigate the application of 6-Gingerol. Full article
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19 pages, 8977 KiB  
Article
Chaenomeles sinensis Extract Ameliorates Ovalbumin-Induced Allergic Rhinitis by Inhibiting the IL-33/ST2 Axis and Regulating Epithelial Cell Dysfunction
by Juan Jin, Yan Jing Fan, Thi Van Nguyen, Zhen Nan Yu, Chang Ho Song, So-Young Lee, Hee Soon Shin and Ok Hee Chai
Foods 2024, 13(4), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040611 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 684
Abstract
Chaenomeles sinensis has traditionally been used as an herbal medicine due to its characteristics that protect against inflammation, hypertension, and mutagenesis. However, the effect of Chaenomeles sinensis extract (CSE) on allergic rhinitis (AR) and its underlying mechanisms have yet to be thoroughly investigated. [...] Read more.
Chaenomeles sinensis has traditionally been used as an herbal medicine due to its characteristics that protect against inflammation, hypertension, and mutagenesis. However, the effect of Chaenomeles sinensis extract (CSE) on allergic rhinitis (AR) and its underlying mechanisms have yet to be thoroughly investigated. The current study explored the likely effect of CSE on AR in an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced AR mouse model. To this end, OVA-specific immunoglobulins, nasal symptoms, cytokine production, the infiltration of inflammatory cells, and nasal histopathology were assessed to determine the role of CSE against AR. The supplementation of CSE was found to suppress OVA-specific IgE, while OVA-specific IgG2a was increased in the serum. Further, CSE ameliorated the production of T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines whereas it increased Th1 cytokine levels in nasal lavage fluid. Moreover, the CSE treatment group exhibited significant inhibition of IL-33/ST2 signaling. Subsequently, CES reversed the OVA-induced enhancement of epithelial permeability and upregulated E-cadherin, thus indicating that CES plays a protective role on epithelial barrier integrity. Altogether, the oral administration of CSE effectively controlled allergic response by restricting the buildup of inflammatory cells, enhancing nasal and lung histopathological traits, and regulating cytokines associated with inflammation. Collectively, the results show that the supplementation of CSE at different doses effectively regulated AR, thus suggesting the therapeutic efficiency of CSE in suppressing airway diseases. Full article
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14 pages, 1219 KiB  
Article
Exploring Interrelationships between Colour, Composition, and Coagulation Traits of Milk from Cows, Goats, and Sheep
by Ana Garzón, José M. Perea, Elena Angón, Eoin G. Ryan, Orla M. Keane and Javier Caballero-Villalobos
Foods 2024, 13(4), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040610 - 17 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
This study explores the interrelationships between the composition, coagulation, and colour of sheep, goat, and cow milk to identify their similarities and differences and to assess whether the relationships between the variables are common to all species or whether they emerge from species-specific [...] Read more.
This study explores the interrelationships between the composition, coagulation, and colour of sheep, goat, and cow milk to identify their similarities and differences and to assess whether the relationships between the variables are common to all species or whether they emerge from species-specific relationships. For this purpose, 2400 individual milk samples were analysed. The differences and similarities between the species were determined using discriminant analysis and cluster analysis. The results show a clear differentiation between species. Sheep milk stands out for its cheesemaking capacity and shows similarities with goat milk in composition and coagulation. Nonetheless, colorimetry highlights a greater similarity between sheep and cow milk. Composition and colorimetry were more discriminating than coagulation, and the variables that differed the most were fat, protein, curd yield, lightness, and red–green balance. Using canonical correlation, the interrelationships between the different sets of variables were explored, revealing patterns of common variation and species-specific relationships. Colorimetric variables were closely related to milk solids in all species, while in sheep milk, an inverse relationship with lactose was also identified. Furthermore, a strong relationship was revealed for all species between colour and curd yield. This could be modelled and applied to estimate the technological value of milk, proving colorimetry as a useful tool for the dairy industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Dairy)
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10 pages, 741 KiB  
Communication
Performance Evaluation of a Commercial Real-Time PCR Method for the Detection of Lupin Traces in Food
by Clara Tramuta, Lucia Decastelli, Francesco Ingravalle, Elisa Barcucci, Sandra Fragassi and Daniela Manila Bianchi
Foods 2024, 13(4), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040609 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 552
Abstract
In accordance with U.S. FDA Foods Program Regulatory Science Steering Committee guidelines, with this study, we optimized and validated a commercial real-time PCR method for the detection of low amounts of lupin in four classes of food matrices: chocolate cookies, ragù, Olivier salad, [...] Read more.
In accordance with U.S. FDA Foods Program Regulatory Science Steering Committee guidelines, with this study, we optimized and validated a commercial real-time PCR method for the detection of low amounts of lupin in four classes of food matrices: chocolate cookies, ragù, Olivier salad, and barley and rice flour. DNA extracted from blank (true negative) samples artificially contaminated with lupin (Lupinus albus) flour at 1000 ppm underwent dilutions with the DNA extracted from the true negative samples up to 0.5 ppm. The limit of detection for real-time PCR was 0.5 ppm in the complex matrices (range, Ct 26–34), making this a specific, robust, and rapid method for lupin allergen detection and labeling. Our validation data support the suitability of this commercially available real-time PCR method for this purpose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Quality and Safety)
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16 pages, 645 KiB  
Review
The Contribution of Microorganisms to the Quality and Flavor Formation of Chinese Traditional Fermented Meat and Fish Products
by Jingjing Mao, Xinyi Wang, Hongfan Chen, Zhiping Zhao, Dayu Liu, Yin Zhang and Xin Nie
Foods 2024, 13(4), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040608 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Guizhou sour meat and sour fish, Chaoshan fish sauce, Sichuan sausage and bacon, Cantonese sausage, Jinhua ham, and Xinjiang air-dried beef are eight representatives of Chinese traditional fermented meat and fish products (FMFPs), which are favored by Chinese consumers due to their high [...] Read more.
Guizhou sour meat and sour fish, Chaoshan fish sauce, Sichuan sausage and bacon, Cantonese sausage, Jinhua ham, and Xinjiang air-dried beef are eight representatives of Chinese traditional fermented meat and fish products (FMFPs), which are favored by Chinese consumers due to their high nutritional value and quality. The quality of the spontaneously fermented Chinese traditional FMFP is closely correlated with microorganisms. Moreover, the dominant microorganisms are significantly different due to regional differences. The effects of microorganisms on the texture, color, flavor, nutrition, functional properties, and safety of Chinese traditional FMFPs have not been not fully described. Additionally, metabolic pathways for flavor formation of Chinese traditional FMFPs have not well been summarized. This article describes the seven characteristic Chinese traditional FMFPs and correlated dominant microorganisms in different regions of China. The effects of microorganisms on the texture, color, and flavor of Chinese traditional FMFPs are discussed. Furthermore, the metabolic pathways of microbial regulation of flavor formation in Chinese traditional FMFPs are proposed. This work provides a theoretical basis for improvement of Chinese traditional FMFPs by inoculating functional microorganisms isolated from Chinese traditional fermented foods. Full article
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13 pages, 1070 KiB  
Article
Increasing the Amounts of Bioactive Components in American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) Leaves Using Far-Infrared Irradiation
by Xuan Wang, Myungjin Kim, Ruoqi Han, Jiarui Liu, Xuemei Sun, Shuyang Sun, Chengwu Jin and Dongha Cho
Foods 2024, 13(4), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040607 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 433
Abstract
Both the roots and leaves of American ginseng contain ginsenosides and polyphenols. The impact of thermal processing on enhancing the biological activities of the root by altering its component composition has been widely reported. However, the effects of far-infrared irradiation (FIR), an efficient [...] Read more.
Both the roots and leaves of American ginseng contain ginsenosides and polyphenols. The impact of thermal processing on enhancing the biological activities of the root by altering its component composition has been widely reported. However, the effects of far-infrared irradiation (FIR), an efficient heat treatment method, on the bioactive components of the leaves remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the effects of FIR heat treatment between 160 and 200 °C on the deglycosylation and dehydration rates of the bioactive components in American ginseng leaves. As the temperature was increased, the amounts of common ginsenosides decreased while those of rare ginsenosides increased. After FIR heat treatment of American ginseng leaves at an optimal 190 °C, the highest total polyphenolic content and kaempferol content were detected, the antioxidant activity was significantly enhanced, and the amounts of the rare ginsenosides F4, Rg6, Rh4, Rk3, Rk1, Rg3, and Rg5 were 41, 5, 37, 64, 222, 17, and 266 times higher than those in untreated leaves, respectively. Moreover, the radical scavenging rates for 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) and the reducing power of the treated leaf extracts were 2.17, 1.86, and 1.77 times higher, respectively. Hence, FIR heat treatment at 190 °C is an efficient method for producing beneficial bioactive components from American ginseng leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances in Analysis of Food and Beverages)
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17 pages, 7262 KiB  
Article
Design and Experimentation of a Machine Vision-Based Cucumber Quality Grader
by Fanghong Liu, Yanqi Zhang, Chengtao Du, Xu Ren, Bo Huang and Xiujuan Chai
Foods 2024, 13(4), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040606 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 610
Abstract
The North China type cucumber, characterized by its dense spines and top flowers, is susceptible to damage during the grading process, affecting its market value. Moreover, traditional manual grading methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive. To address these issues, this paper proposes a cucumber [...] Read more.
The North China type cucumber, characterized by its dense spines and top flowers, is susceptible to damage during the grading process, affecting its market value. Moreover, traditional manual grading methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive. To address these issues, this paper proposes a cucumber quality grader based on machine vision and deep learning. In the electromechanical aspect, a novel fixed tray type grading mechanism is designed to prevent damage to the vulnerable North China type cucumbers during the grading process. In the vision grading algorithm, a new convolutional neural network is introduced named MassNet, capable of predicting cucumber mass using only a top-view image. After obtaining the cucumber mass prediction, mass grading is achieved. Experimental validation includes assessing the electromechanical performance of the grader, comparing MassNet with different models in predicting cucumber mass, and evaluating the online grading performance of the integrated algorithm. Experimental results indicate that the designed cucumber quality grader achieves a maximum capacity of 2.3 t/hr. In comparison with AlexNet, MobileNet, and ResNet, MassNet demonstrates superior cucumber mass prediction, with a MAPE of 3.9% and RMSE of 6.7 g. In online mass grading experiments, the grading efficiency of the cucumber quality grader reaches 93%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Engineering and Technology)
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29 pages, 1134 KiB  
Review
Green Solvents for Extraction of Natural Food Colorants from Plants: Selectivity and Stability Issues
by Milena Tankova Tzanova, Zvezdelina Yaneva, Donika Ivanova, Monika Toneva, Neli Grozeva and Neli Memdueva
Foods 2024, 13(4), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040605 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Consumers associate the color of food with its freshness and quality. More and more attention is being paid to natural colorants that bring additional health benefits to humans. Such natural substances are the carotenoids (yellow to orange), the anthocyanins (red to blue), and [...] Read more.
Consumers associate the color of food with its freshness and quality. More and more attention is being paid to natural colorants that bring additional health benefits to humans. Such natural substances are the carotenoids (yellow to orange), the anthocyanins (red to blue), and the betalains (red and yellow), which are very sensitive to exposure to light, air, high temperatures, and chemicals. Stability and diversity in terms of color can be optimized by using environmentally friendly and selective extraction processes that provide a balance between efficacy, safety, and stability of the resulting extracts. Green solvents like water, supercritical fluids, natural deep eutectic solvents, and ionic liquids are the most proper green solvents when combined with different extraction techniques like maceration, supercritical extraction, and ultrasound-assisted or microwave-assisted extraction. The choice of the right extracting agent is crucial for the selectivity of the extraction method and the stability of the prepared colorant. The present work reviews the green solvents used for the extraction of natural food colorants from plants and focuses on the issues related to the selectivity and stability of the products extracted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Foods)
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26 pages, 1799 KiB  
Article
Unpacking the Global Rice Trade Network: Centrality, Structural Holes, and the Nexus of Food Insecurity
by Junjie Li, Qin Xiao, Haixia Wu and Jianping Li
Foods 2024, 13(4), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13040604 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 584
Abstract
The challenging international landscape and exacerbated extreme weather conditions contribute to the instability of global grain trade, complicating its impact on food security. This complexity is particularly pronounced for varieties like rice, which are heavily affected by policy-driven trade restrictions. There is insufficient [...] Read more.
The challenging international landscape and exacerbated extreme weather conditions contribute to the instability of global grain trade, complicating its impact on food security. This complexity is particularly pronounced for varieties like rice, which are heavily affected by policy-driven trade restrictions. There is insufficient research on how a country’s rice trade characteristics affect food security. A network analysis approach is adopted to intricately dissect the structural characteristics of rice trade. To explore causality with food insecurity, this paper chooses structural holes and centrality as representatives of trade network characteristics and regresses them on the food insecurity indicator. With cross-national data spanning over 30 years, the network analysis provides a clear portrayal of the dynamic changes in international rice trade. The overall resilience of the trade network has increased, but specific countries’ vulnerability has also risen. Unlike the changing trends in features observed in grain and food trade networks, there is a notable intensification in the imbalance of power distribution in the rice trade network compared to over 30 years ago. The panel data regression results show that constraint, indicating the scarcity of structural holes or connections to stronger trading partners, significantly and positively influences a country’s level of food insecurity. Based on these findings, the policy proposal for importing countries emphasizes creating strategic trade connections. By choosing appropriate trade partners that reduce constraint, food security can be enhanced, even without improvements in other conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Security and Sustainability)
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