Biological Activities of Plant Food Components: Implications in Human Health

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 November 2020) | Viewed by 49223

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Special Issue Editor

Department of Biological, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies (STEBICEF Dept), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Italy Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: bioactivity of phytochemicals and involved mechanisms: radical-scavenging, antioxidative, antiinflammatory, and antiproliferative activities; cancer cell biology: cell stress responses, cell cycle regulation; oncogenic signaling pathways
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Epidemiological evidence from the last fifty years has shown that nutrition has a decisive role in human health. Eating properly is not only necessary to meet energy demands but actively contributes, through both preventive actions and also therapeutic effects, to improving human wellness. This functional role of nutrition in human health is due to specific small dietary molecules with biological activity. Plants are the most important source of bioactive molecules, and dietary phytochemicals are mainly responsible for the documented protective effects of diets which are rich in plant foods. Due to their ability to exert several biological effects that are potentially useful for human health, dietary phytochemicals have drawn, over the years, increasing interest in human nutrition research.

In this Special Issue, the biological activity of dietary phytochemicals, either purified or in extracts from plant foods, and speculation on potential effects on human health will be addressed.

Both original papers and reviews are warmly welcome.

Dr. Carla Gentile
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Phytochemicals
  • Diet
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Antinflammatory activity
  • Anticancer activity
  • Polyphenols
  • Carotenoids
  • Betalains
  • Plant foods

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 175 KiB  
Editorial
Biological Activities of Plant Food Components: Implications in Human Health
Foods 2021, 10(2), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020456 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1709
Abstract
Scientific data and epidemiological evidence collected over the last fifty years have shown that nutrition plays a decisive role in human health [...] Full article

Research

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21 pages, 2545 KiB  
Article
Pomological, Sensorial, Nutritional and Nutraceutical Profile of Seven Cultivars of Cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill)
Foods 2021, 10(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10010035 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2801
Abstract
In this work, the food quality of four international (Campas, Chaffey, Fino de Jete and White) and three local (Daniela, Torre1 and Torre2) cultivars of Cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill) was investigated. With this aim, pomological [...] Read more.
In this work, the food quality of four international (Campas, Chaffey, Fino de Jete and White) and three local (Daniela, Torre1 and Torre2) cultivars of Cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill) was investigated. With this aim, pomological traits, sensorial attributes, physiochemical parameters (pH, total soluble content and total acidity), nutritional composition (macro- and micro-nutrients) and nutraceutical values (bioactive compounds, radical scavenging and antioxidant properties) were evaluated. Among the seven observed cultivars, Fino de Jete was identified as the best, not only for its commercial attributes such as pomological traits and physiochemical values, but also for its nutritional composition. On the other hand, Chaffey and Daniela were the cultivars with the highest content of polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, and with the strongest antioxidant capacity. Concerning the two local ecotypes, Torre1 and Torre2, they displayed a balanced nutritional profile that, if combined with their discrete nutraceutical, physicochemical and pomological values, may result in a reassessment of their commercial impact. In conclusion, our data provide interesting information about the pomological, nutritional, and nutraceutical properties of cherimoya fruits. Our results, in addition to promoting the commercial impact of local cultivars, may increase the use of individual cultivars in breeding programs. Full article
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13 pages, 563 KiB  
Article
Antibiofilm and Enzyme Inhibitory Potentials of Two Annonaceous Food Spices, African Pepper (Xylopia aethiopica) and African Nutmeg (Monodora myristica)
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1768; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121768 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2565
Abstract
Food pathogens represent an important health threat, and it is relevant to study the effect of foodstuffs such as spices which can inhibit bacterial growth. This study reports the antimicrobial, antibiofilm, and enzyme (Acetylcholinesterase, Butyrylcholinesterase, urease, tyrosinase) inhibitory activities of two medicinal food [...] Read more.
Food pathogens represent an important health threat, and it is relevant to study the effect of foodstuffs such as spices which can inhibit bacterial growth. This study reports the antimicrobial, antibiofilm, and enzyme (Acetylcholinesterase, Butyrylcholinesterase, urease, tyrosinase) inhibitory activities of two medicinal food spices belonging to the Annonaceae family, Monodora myristica and Xylopia aethiopica. GC-MS (gas chromatography mass spectrometry) analysis of silylated samples of Methanol-Dicloromethane (50:50) extracts of both plants led to the identification of nine compounds in M. myristica and seven compounds in X. aethiopica. M. myristica and X. aethiopica had the same minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 0.625 mg/mL and 2.5 mg/mL on C. albicans and E. coli, respectively. However, M. myristica had better activity than X. aethiopica on Staphylococcus aureus, while Pseudomonas aeruginosa was more susceptible to X. aethiopica than M. myristica. The lowest MIC value was 0.1325 mg/mL, exhibited by M. myristica on S. aureus. Both extracts showed good antibiofilm activity. On S. aureus, at the same concentration, M. myristica had better antibiofilm activity than X. aethiopica. On E. coli and Candida albicans, X. aethiopica had better antibiofilm activity than M. myristica at the same concentration. X. aethiopica showed better violacein inhibition in Chromobacterium violaceum CV12472, as its percentage inhibition of violacein varied from 80.5% ± 3.0% at MIC to 5.6 ± 0.2 at MIC/8, as compared to M. myristica with 75.1% ± 2.5% at MIC and 15.5% ± 1.1% at MIC/8. The anti-motility activity by swimming and swarming inhibition on P. aeruginosa PA01 was low at test concentrations and in both models, M. myristica showed higher motility inhibition than X. aethiopica. Although in enzyme inhibitory assays all extracts had low inhibitions compared to standards tested at the same concentrations, the results show that these plants can be used to manage food-borne infections. Full article
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27 pages, 2061 KiB  
Article
Oregano Phytocomplex Induces Programmed Cell Death in Melanoma Lines via Mitochondria and DNA Damage
Foods 2020, 9(10), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9101486 - 17 Oct 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 7471
Abstract
Plant secondary metabolites possess chemopreventive and antineoplastic properties, but the lack of information about their exact mechanism of action in mammalian cells hinders the translation of these compounds in suitable therapies. In light of this, firstly, Origanum vulgare L. hydroalcoholic extract was chemically [...] Read more.
Plant secondary metabolites possess chemopreventive and antineoplastic properties, but the lack of information about their exact mechanism of action in mammalian cells hinders the translation of these compounds in suitable therapies. In light of this, firstly, Origanum vulgare L. hydroalcoholic extract was chemically characterized by spectrophotometric and chromatographic analyses; then, the molecular bases underlying its antitumor activity on B16-F10 and A375 melanoma cells were investigated. Oregano extract induced oxidative stress and inhibited melanogenesis and tumor cell proliferation, triggering programmed cell death pathways (both apoptosis and necroptosis) through mitochondria and DNA damage. By contrast, oregano extract was safe on healthy tissues, revealing no cytotoxicity and mutagenicity on C2C12 myoblasts, considered as non-tumor proliferating cell model system, and on Salmonella strains, by the Ames test. All these data provide scientific evidence about the potential application of this food plant as an anticancer agent in in vivo studies and clinical trials. Full article
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9 pages, 886 KiB  
Communication
Antioxidant Capacity of Tempura Deep-Fried Products Prepared Using Barley, Buckwheat, and Job’s Tears Flours
Foods 2020, 9(9), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091246 - 07 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3451
Abstract
Tempura is a dish of battered and deep-fried foods, and wheat flour is typically used; however, barley, buckwheat, and Job’s tears have an antioxidant capacity. This study investigated whether replacing wheat flour with flours from these three crops in tempura affects the antioxidant [...] Read more.
Tempura is a dish of battered and deep-fried foods, and wheat flour is typically used; however, barley, buckwheat, and Job’s tears have an antioxidant capacity. This study investigated whether replacing wheat flour with flours from these three crops in tempura affects the antioxidant capacity and deterioration of frying oil. Radical scavenging activity and polyphenol content of tempura were measured by chemiluminescence-based assay and the Folin–Denis method, respectively. The peroxide value, p-anisidin value, acid value, and polar compound of the oil used in frying were measured as indexes of oil deterioration post-frying due to oxidation. Although the frying oil of barley showed higher p-anisidin value than that of wheat, the oil samples’ deterioration level measured in this study was low. The antioxidant capacity and polyphenol content in the three flours samples were higher than those in wheat sample, with buckwheat producing the greatest values, followed by Job’s tears, and then barley. Thus, deep-fried products prepared using the three flours demonstrated superior antioxidant capacity owing to the abundance of antioxidant components. Therefore, tempura can be enjoyed in a healthier manner by using batter prepared using those flours, and substituting wheat flour with the three flours can increase the antioxidant capacity of deep-fried products. Full article
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11 pages, 982 KiB  
Article
Effect of Sunlight Exposure on Anthocyanin and Non-Anthocyanin Phenolic Levels in Pomegranate Juices by High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Approach
Foods 2020, 9(9), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091161 - 23 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2851
Abstract
Quali-quantitative analyses of anthocyanins and non-anthocyanin phenolic compounds performed with the use of liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry, were evaluated in juice of pomegranate fruits (‘Dente di Cavallo’), in relation to different light exposures (North, South, West and East). A [...] Read more.
Quali-quantitative analyses of anthocyanins and non-anthocyanin phenolic compounds performed with the use of liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry, were evaluated in juice of pomegranate fruits (‘Dente di Cavallo’), in relation to different light exposures (North, South, West and East). A total of 16 compounds were identified, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, hydrolysable tannins, and anthocyanins, known for their health-promoting effects. Striking differences were observed about the total phenolic content, which was high in juices from fruits with east- and north-facing position, while it was lower in juices facing south. The greatest contents of total flavonoids and anthocyanins were recorded in fruit juices with southern exposure; however, there are no great differences in the content in phenolic acids. Tannins were mainly synthesized in fruit juices with West exposure. The results showed that the position within the tree had no significant effects on color juice, however, it significantly (p < 0.05) affected data on fruit weight, soluble sugars and juice yield. Remarkable synergies existed among polyphenols and phytochemicals in pomegranate juice, but collecting fruits with different solar exposure could enhance different health benefits, i.e., the juices with higher polyphenols content could have more anticancer effect or those with higher tannins content could have more antimicrobial effect. Full article
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15 pages, 1782 KiB  
Article
The Bioactive Potential of Functional Products and Bioavailability of Phenolic Compounds
Foods 2020, 9(7), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9070953 - 18 Jul 2020
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4193
Abstract
The expression of bioactivity depends on the assimilation of different classes of natural substances (e.g., phenolic compounds) in vivo. Six functional extracts (Aspalathus linearis, leaves; Paullinia cupana, seeds; Aristotelia chilensis, berries; Ilex paraguariensis, leaves; Syzygium aromaticum, cloves, [...] Read more.
The expression of bioactivity depends on the assimilation of different classes of natural substances (e.g., phenolic compounds) in vivo. Six functional extracts (Aspalathus linearis, leaves; Paullinia cupana, seeds; Aristotelia chilensis, berries; Ilex paraguariensis, leaves; Syzygium aromaticum, cloves, and wild berries) were analyzed in vitro and in vivo as an alternative to alleviating pathologies associated with oxidative stress (proliferation of cancer cells). The purpose of this research was to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo antioxidant and cytotoxic potential of hydroalcoholic solutions, in addition to the assimilation capacity of bioactive components in Saccharomyces boulardii cells. In vivo antioxidant capacity (critical point value) was correlated with the assimilation ratio of functional compounds. The results of in vitro antioxidant activities were correlated with the presence of quercetin (4.67 ± 0.27 mg/100 mL) and chlorogenic acid (14.38 ± 0.29 mg/100 mL) in I. paraguariensis. Bioassimilation of the main nutraceutical components depended on the individual sample. Phenolic acid levels revealed the poor assimilation of the main components, which could be associated with cell viability to oxidative stress. Full article
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13 pages, 1182 KiB  
Article
Inhibitory Activities of Polyphenolic Extracts of Bangladeshi Vegetables against α-Amylase, α-Glucosidase, Pancreatic Lipase, Renin, and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme
Foods 2020, 9(7), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9070844 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 3649
Abstract
The aim of the study was to determine the in vitro enzyme inhibition activities of aqueous polyphenolic extracts of nine popular Bangladeshi vegetables, namely ash gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal, Indian spinach, kangkong, okra, ridge gourd, snake gourd, and stem amaranth. Polyphenolic glycosides were [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to determine the in vitro enzyme inhibition activities of aqueous polyphenolic extracts of nine popular Bangladeshi vegetables, namely ash gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal, Indian spinach, kangkong, okra, ridge gourd, snake gourd, and stem amaranth. Polyphenolic glycosides were the major compounds present in the extracts. Inhibition of α-amylase (up to 100% at 1 mg/mL) was stronger than α-glucosidase inhibition (up to 70.78% at 10 mg/mL). The Indian spinach extract was the strongest inhibitor of pancreatic lipase activity (IC50 = 276.77 µg/mL), which was significantly better than that of orlistat (381.16 µg/mL), a drug. Ash gourd (76.51%), brinjal (72.48%), and snake gourd (66.82%) extracts were the most effective inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme whose excessive activities have been associated with hypertension. Brinjal also had a significantly higher renin-inhibitory activity than the other vegetable extracts. We conclude that the vegetable extracts may have the ability to reduce enzyme activities that have been associated with hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. Full article
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11 pages, 691 KiB  
Article
Improvement of Fatty Acid Profile in Durum Wheat Breads Supplemented with Portulaca oleracea L. Quality Traits of Purslane-Fortified Bread
Foods 2020, 9(6), 764; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9060764 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 3121
Abstract
The addition of functional ingredients to breads could have effects on preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancers and inflammation. The incorporation of 0–5–10–15% of three populations of dried purslane flour on the rheological, sensorial and nutritional quality of fortified durum wheat breads were evaluated. The [...] Read more.
The addition of functional ingredients to breads could have effects on preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancers and inflammation. The incorporation of 0–5–10–15% of three populations of dried purslane flour on the rheological, sensorial and nutritional quality of fortified durum wheat breads were evaluated. The increase in dried purslane (up to 15%) caused an increase in the resistance to the mixture and a consequent reduction in its extensibility. The “panel test” gave a largely positive evaluation in 10% of enrichment. The fatty acids in breads resulted higher with the 5% substitution. Contrary to what has been imagined, the increase in percentage of substitution to 10 and 15% did not lead to an increase in linoleic (omega-3) and α-linolenic (omega-6) acid and probably the cause is in the cooking. The total phenols content and the antioxidant potential, evaluated by ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP) and 2,2′-azinobis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) assays of the enriched breads increased with the percentage of the dry purslane substitution. The enrichment of the durum wheat flour with 5% purslane resulted in a good compromise to obtain good rheological characteristics of loaves and breads with decreased omega-6/omega-3 ratio and good antioxidant properties. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 914 KiB  
Review
Health Benefits and Molecular Mechanisms of Resveratrol: A Narrative Review
Foods 2020, 9(3), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9030340 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 156 | Viewed by 16009
Abstract
Resveratrol is a bioactive compound in many foods. Since its anticancer activity was reported in 1997, its health benefits have been intensively investigated. Resveratrol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, glucose and lipid regulatory, neuroprotective, and cardiovascular protective effects, therefore, can protect against diverse chronic [...] Read more.
Resveratrol is a bioactive compound in many foods. Since its anticancer activity was reported in 1997, its health benefits have been intensively investigated. Resveratrol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, glucose and lipid regulatory, neuroprotective, and cardiovascular protective effects, therefore, can protect against diverse chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer, liver diseases, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. This review summarizes the main findings of resveratrol-related health benefits in recent epidemiological surveys, experimental studies, and clinical trials, highlighting its related molecular mechanisms. Resveratrol, therefore, has been regarded as a potent candidate for the development of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals to prevent and treat certain chronic diseases. Full article
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