Functional Foods and Natural Products: Bioactive Compounds and Beneficial Effects on Health – Volume II

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 6020

Special Issue Editors

Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), ESA, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
Interests: chemistry and food quality; quality control and chemical characterization; sustainable processes and products; chronic kidney disease; renal fibrosis; drinking water quality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Public Health Laboratory, Local Health Unitof Nordest, 5300-146 Bragança, Portugal
Interests: natural products; bioactive proprieties; drinking water; quality control; antioxidants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last years, the intake of food products composed of artificial compounds/additives has motivated many discussions owing to the potential adverse effects of these substances on consumer health. Therefore, many food companies have started to substitute these additives (chemically produced or chemically modified after extraction) with natural equivalents in order to meet current consumer expectations of safer and healthy foods. In this sense, functional foods and natural products are constituted of several compounds. Furthermore, many of these possess bioactive properties, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumoral, and numerous supplementary properties. Bioactive compounds are chemical components that have been described as containing vitamins, minerals, fibers, sugars, and phenolic compounds with activities potentially beneficial to health, protecting against inflammatory chronic diseases such as diabetes, as well as cancers, ageing, and other conditions. Therefore, these bioactive molecules can be used as food supplements or additives for many foods to protect and promote health.

Prof. Dr. António José Madeira Nogueira
Dr. Andrea Luísa Fernandes Afonso
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • natural products
  • bioactive compounds
  • water quality
  • antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antimicrobial
  • anticytotoxic
  • cell proliferation and apoptosis

Published Papers (7 papers)

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13 pages, 1743 KiB  
Article
Effect of Microwave and Conventional Heat Treatment on Total Phenolic Compounds, HPLC Phenolic Profile, and Antioxidant Activity of Leptadenia pyrotechnica (Forssk.) Decne Stem
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(24), 13222; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132413222 - 13 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Leptadenia pyrotechnica is considered a wild herb used to enhance the palatability of food, particularly in the Gulf region. The effect of microwave (5, 8, and 10 min at 900 W) and hot-air heating (60, 120, and 180 min at 100 °C) on the [...] Read more.
Leptadenia pyrotechnica is considered a wild herb used to enhance the palatability of food, particularly in the Gulf region. The effect of microwave (5, 8, and 10 min at 900 W) and hot-air heating (60, 120, and 180 min at 100 °C) on the phenolic compounds and antioxidants of L. pyrotechnica stems was investigated. The results showed that microwave heating gave high values of the total phenolic content (TPC), total flavonoid content (TFC), and antioxidant properties, while the control sample was inferior in all these attributes. Moreover, microwave heating, particularly for 8 min, produced the highest TPC, TFC, and DPPH values (significant at p < 0.05) and reduced power in the L. pyrotechnica stem. However, prolonging the heating time caused adverse effects on the bioactive potential of the samples. The HPLC analysis indicates that both processes caused a significant increment in the phenolic compounds of the sample. Tannic acid, vanillin, and acetyl salicylic acid were found to be higher in the microwaved-treated samples than in those heated with hot air. The tannic acid was found to be high after microwave heating for 8 min at 116.06 mg/100 g, while the higher value of acetylsalicylic acid 119.08 mg/100 g was observed after microwave heating for 5 min. The partial least regression (PLS) validation model revealed that microwave heating, particularly at an 8 min application time, offered better results, and owing to its short processing time, which might be adopted for heating the L. pyrotechnica stems in the food industry, and it can be useful for preparing functional foods. Full article
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15 pages, 1469 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Steviol Glycosides or Stevia Leaves Addition to the Hypercholesterolemic Diet on Selected Biochemical Parameters of Experimental Rats
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(22), 12364; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132212364 - 15 Nov 2023
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Abstract
Stevia rebaudiana, as a plant with favorable technological features, and, above all, with potential health-promoting properties, seems to be an ideal sugar substitute. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of adding pure steviol glycosides or Stevia leaves to [...] Read more.
Stevia rebaudiana, as a plant with favorable technological features, and, above all, with potential health-promoting properties, seems to be an ideal sugar substitute. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of adding pure steviol glycosides or Stevia leaves to a hypercholesterolemic diet on selected growth and biochemical parameters of experimental (non-diabetes) rats. The research material consisted of dried leaves of Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, Polish, Brazilian and Paraguayan origin) and steviol glycosides (GS). In the animal experiment, young male Wistar rats were used. The animals were divided into six experimental groups, six rats per group, and placed in individual metabolic cages, provided with drinking bowls and feeders. The animals from particular groups received a semi-synthetic AIN-93G diet for growing rats or its modification (group I—AIN-93G diet; group II—hypercholesterolemic diet; group III—hypercholesterolemic diet with 0.28 g of GS/kg of diet; group IV; V; VI—hypercholesterolemic diet with dried Stevia leaves addition from Polish (PL), Brazilian (BR) and Paraguayan (PR) cultivation) in amounts providing GS as in group III, i.e., 10, 17 and 18%, respectively. The addition of GS to the hypercholesterolemic diet resulted only in a tendency to lower the weight of the kidneys, heart and liver compared to animals fed with the hypercholesterolemic diet. The lowest glucose concentration was found in animals receiving the 17%BR diet. In general, all lipid profile parameters were similar or increased in rats fed the hypercholesterolemic diet with the addition of steviol glycosides and Stevia leaves, respectively. The highest antioxidant activity was recorded in the blood serum of rats fed the hypercholesterolemic diet with 10%PL dried Stevia leaves addition. Full article
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16 pages, 1074 KiB  
Article
Study on the Potential Antitumor Activity of Cookies Enriched with Sambucus nigra L., Aronia melanocarpa, Hippophae rhamnoides L., and Crataegus L., on WM793 Melanoma and MCF-7 Breast Cell Lines
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(22), 12256; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132212256 - 13 Nov 2023
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Abstract
The number of deaths due to malignant neoplasms is increasing year by year. For this reason, new ways of preventing them and supporting treatment are being sought. One of them is adding plant extracts to food to increase its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerogenic [...] Read more.
The number of deaths due to malignant neoplasms is increasing year by year. For this reason, new ways of preventing them and supporting treatment are being sought. One of them is adding plant extracts to food to increase its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerogenic activity. The aim of the study was to examine the effect of different wild-grown fruits (chokeberry, elderberry, hawthorn and sea-buckthorn) added to wheat-flour cookies on the proliferation of: (i) normal BJ lines (fibroblasts); (ii) tumor cells of the MCF-7 (breast cancer) and (iii) WM793 (melanoma) lines. Methanol-acetone extracts were prepared from previously baked wheat-flour cookies fortified with fruits in order to use them in the further part of the research to prepare mixtures with concentrations of 0.5 mg/mL; 1 mg/mL; 1.5 mg/mL; 2.5 mg/mL. The viability and cytotoxicity of normal and neoplastic cells was examined. It was observed that the WM793 melanoma tumor line appeared to be more susceptible to the action of the tested extracts with the addition of selected wild-grown fruits compared to MCF7 breast cancer cells. Moreover, the greatest significant effect on the inhibition of WM793 cells among extracts with a concentration of 2.5 mg/mL was proved in the case of sea-buckthorn (p < 0.05). In terms of the inhibition of the MCF7 line, the effect was proved only in the case of sea buckthorn (p < 0.05), while the viability of these neoplastic cells was at most affected by elderberry and chokeberry extracts (p < 0.05). Full article
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20 pages, 1551 KiB  
Article
Total Phenolic and Flavonoid Contents, and Preliminary Antioxidant, Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory and Antibacterial Activities of Fruits of Lapsi (Choerospondias axillaris Roxb.), an Underutilized Wild Fruit of Nepal
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(15), 8945; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13158945 - 03 Aug 2023
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Abstract
Choerospondias axillaris Roxb. (Anacardiaceae) is a deciduous tree, native to Nepal and the Himalayan region, that can reach a maximum height of 20 m. The study aimed to assess the total phenol, flavonoid, and carbohydrate content, and preliminary antioxidant potency, xanthine oxidase inhibition, [...] Read more.
Choerospondias axillaris Roxb. (Anacardiaceae) is a deciduous tree, native to Nepal and the Himalayan region, that can reach a maximum height of 20 m. The study aimed to assess the total phenol, flavonoid, and carbohydrate content, and preliminary antioxidant potency, xanthine oxidase inhibition, and antibacterial properties of C. axillaris fruits extracts. Ethyl acetate, acetone, methanol, and water were used as extraction solvents. The quantitative analysis showed that the extracts had total polyphenols (68.28 μg to 154.91 μg gallic acid equivalent/mg extract), flavonoids (41.72 to 283.84 μg quercetin equivalent/mg extract), and carbohydrates contents (67.26 µg to 269.96 µg glucose equivalent/mg extract). The acetone extract exhibited the highest antioxidant activity (IC50: 15.72 µg/mL) and potent inhibition of xanthine oxidase (IC50: 20.80 µg/mL) among the extracts. The acetone extract exhibited the strongest antibacterial efficacy against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus with inhibition zones of 13.76 mm and 12.56 mm, respectively. It also had the lowest minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC: 0.78 mg/mL) and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC: 0.52 mg/mL) against S. aureus. In conclusion, the C. axillaris fruit extracts showed potent antioxidant, xanthine oxidase inhibitory, and antibacterial activities, suggesting their potential for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. Further research should focus on the identification of active compounds and in vivo analysis of pharmacological activities. Full article
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14 pages, 1252 KiB  
Article
A Novel Functional Refined Olive Oil, Enhanced with Orange Peel Extract, Modulates Postprandial LDL-Cholesterol Responses in Individuals at Cardiometabolic Risk: A Pilot Randomized, Controlled, Cross-Over Nutritional Intervention
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(15), 8574; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13158574 - 25 Jul 2023
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Abstract
Olive oil, as the main source of polyphenols in the Mediterranean diet pattern, is mentioned to show remarkable postprandial bioactivity, contributing to the reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors. In recent years, the consumption of refined olive oil, instead of other olive oil classes, [...] Read more.
Olive oil, as the main source of polyphenols in the Mediterranean diet pattern, is mentioned to show remarkable postprandial bioactivity, contributing to the reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors. In recent years, the consumption of refined olive oil, instead of other olive oil classes, led to a reduced intake of polyphenols from the usual diet. This controlled, human nutritional intervention investigated whether the enhancement of refined olive oil with orange peel extract may modulate postprandial lipemia, glycemia, and oxidative stress in individuals at cardiometabolic risk. In a cross-over framework, 21 participants aged 30–65 years, who met the eligibility criteria, received a fat and carbohydrate meal of mashed potatoes, homogenized with refined olive oil (50 mL) or the functional olive oil, enhanced with 10% orange peel extract, intervening a washout week. Blood draws were performed in fasting, 30 min, 1.5 h, and 3 h after the meal intake. Plasma lipids, glucose, uric acid, and total plasma antioxidant capacity, according to the FRAP method, were measured at each timepoint. A significant reduction of LDL-cholesterol was observed, 1.5 h and 3 h after the functional meal intake, compared to non-significant changes after the control meal (p < 0.05). No other statistically significant interactions were detected to the remaining biomarkers (p > 0.05). Further investigation is needed for safer conclusions about the postprandial modulation of cardiometabolic risk factors by the functional olive oil enhanced with orange peel extract. Full article
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14 pages, 4976 KiB  
Article
The Combination of Epigallocatechin Gallate and Lactiplantibacillus plantarum P101 Alleviated Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Liver Injury in Mice by Regulating Gut Microbiota
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(22), 11636; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122211636 - 16 Nov 2022
Viewed by 969
Abstract
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a main active ingredient in tea, but it is difficult for it to be absorbed and utilized by the body, resulting in limited bioactivity. Therefore, we explored the role of probiotics in enhancing the physiological activity of EGCG in [...] Read more.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a main active ingredient in tea, but it is difficult for it to be absorbed and utilized by the body, resulting in limited bioactivity. Therefore, we explored the role of probiotics in enhancing the physiological activity of EGCG in a mice model of liver injury. Mice were methodically treated with either a single ingredient or a combination of EGCG and Lactiplantibacillus plantarum P101 (LP.P101) for 21 days, and then administrated with intraperitoneal injection of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) on the last day. As a result, the antioxidative genes were activated and pro-inflammatory genes were suppressed, reducing the oxidative and inflammatory injury of mice, which indicated a better preventive effect of the combination of EGCG and LP.P101 than the single ingredient. Furthermore, 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing revealed the role of gut microbiota played in liver injury mitigation. The combination of EGCG and LP.P101 increased the relative abundance of Lactobacillus, Akkermansia and other beneficial bacteria that negatively correlated with inflammation and positively correlated with antioxidation. In conclusion, the combination of EGCG and LP.P101 was more effective than the single ingredient in alleviating liver damage caused by CCl4. Altered gut microbiota may be an important cause. Full article
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27 pages, 1210 KiB  
Systematic Review
Plant-Derived Bioactive Compounds for Rhabdomyosarcoma Therapy In Vitro: A Systematic Review
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(23), 12964; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132312964 - 04 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children, constitutes approximately 40% of all recorded soft tissue tumors and is associated with a poor prognosis, with survival rates of less than 20% at 3 years. The development of resistance to cytotoxic drugs [...] Read more.
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children, constitutes approximately 40% of all recorded soft tissue tumors and is associated with a poor prognosis, with survival rates of less than 20% at 3 years. The development of resistance to cytotoxic drugs is a primary contributor to therapeutic failure. Consequently, the exploration of new therapeutic strategies is of vital importance. The potential use of plant extracts and their bioactive compounds emerges as a complementary treatment for this type of cancer. This systematic review focuses on research related to plant extracts or isolated bioactive compounds exhibiting antitumor activity against RMS cells. Literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane, and WOS. A total of 173 articles published to date were identified, although only 40 were finally included to meet the inclusion criteria. Furthermore, many of these compounds are readily available and have reduced cytotoxicity, showing an apoptosis-mediated mechanism of action to induce tumor cell death. Interestingly, their use combined with chemotherapy or loaded with nanoparticles achieves better results by reducing toxicity and/or facilitating entry into tumor cells. Future in vivo studies will be necessary to verify the utility of these natural compounds as a therapeutic tool for RMS. Full article
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